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Torture Justified

The act of torture is a grave violation of human rights that infringes objectives of the United Nations Charter. Since 1984, 155 countries have ratified UN Convention against Torture (UNCAT). Between these 155 countries, 142 countries were researched by Amnesty International, a non-profit organization in the forefront of the campaign against torture and a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. In result, in 2014 among 142 countries, 79 of these are still torturing. (Dolmaci, 2014). That is hard to say that since UNCAT, torture is not happening anymore.

Human rights observers in the whole world still documenting state-sanctioned torture and have set up several clinics to treat its survivors. Even in the last five years, Amnesty International has reported on torture and other forms of ill-treatment in 141 countries from every region in the world. This number means the number of countries that does torture is likely to be higher still. Since torture is also prohibited in many laws and carries a special status in general international law which is jus cogens.

Jus cogens means fundamental, overriding principles of international law, from which no derogation is ever permitted. General international law is irrevocable for all states, even though the corresponding country is not ratified to any particular treaty. There is no exception for this kind of law, including when being a prosecutor, which some of the people think this it is justifiable in the name of the majority people’s good. In this case, we need to think also about damage, not only about the physical wound that the victim got, but also the trauma that will haunt the rest of his life.

In this world, we already have series of law that prohibit the act of torture. Based on a survey by Amnesty International, its survey found 44% of respondents, who from 21 countries across every continent, fear they would be at risk of torture if taken into custody in their country. In reality, even we have many laws about torture, the majority of respondent (82%), believe there should be more clear laws against torture. It is because they think the laws that exist right now are not absolute.

However more than a third of respondents (36%), thought torture could be justified in particular condition, such as in term of interrogation device which refers to the UNCAT article 1, it is clearly defines torture during interrogation as: Any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession … when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity (p. ) The argument that it is permissible to violate human rights when it comes to the term to leak information for saving the majority life is based on weak assumption.

First, in this case, we could not be sure the information provided whether it is reliable or not. It is because human has intense desire to avoid pain (Bargaric & Clarke, 2005) no matter how, but more likely to give answer as what the tormentors want to hear (Devine, 2009). One of the CIA operative in Vietnam War ever stated, “We had people who were willing to confess to anything if we would just stop torturing them” (Andersen, 2004, p. 3).

However, many survivors of torture report that the information they revealed was intentionally incomplete or mixed with false information (Harbury, 2005). Second, the Convention also states in Article 2 (2) that: “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture” (p. 1). So, it is clearly unjustifiable, but however, someone who did torture usually has been given doctrine so the person would not be concerned of humanity or furthermore about the impact of torture.

Impact of torture straightly divided into two categories, first is the impact in bigger scale, such as; damage the relationship between countries, and cause bad publication for the tormentor’s country which could influence exchange rates. The second is impact in person, which categorized in two section, physical wound and psychological damage. Physical wound is defined as dissolution of the natural continuity of any of the issues of the living body which caused by physical violence (Rao, 2013).

Several examples of physical wounds are burns, disability, fracture, and incised wounds. Beside the physical wound, there is also psychological damage left in mind. This psychological damage is often worse than physical wound; it is the real horror for the victim. Psychological damage, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, nightmares, flashbacks, and memory lapses, is the hardest thing to heal since psychological damage is not only affecting the victim, but sometimes it affects the family member also.

It is not only could destroys the family member, but sometimes it also destroy the whole generation when it comes in the term of mass torture. Torture has severe impact, long-lasting negative consequences for survivors, perpetrators, bystanders, and communities (Costanzo & Gerrity, 2009). It is also needed to concern about their future; how to build peace in traumatized society? Hand by hand is necessary for help them to recover, and could be done in several ways, for example using education as a tool for the recovery of generation, and approaching in religious side of people.

This is related to a study of former Yugoslavia war survivors, which indicates that compensations and renew of a sense of justice in the world are not enough to significantly help torture survivors` psychological healing process. According to this paper by Besoglu and collaborators, regardless of any political and judicial changes that benefit the victims, “recovery from PTSD appears to require specific interventions designed to enhance sense of control over traumatic stressors” (Abildgaard, 1984).

In conclusion, while torture is prohibited in international law, in contradictory it is still happening enthusiastically in some part of this world to prove the strength of the ruler (Stanley, 2009). In reality, torture is a violation of the law and also violation of the human rights. Once it is violating, there is no tolerance in all circumstances. In this world, it is impossible to abolish torture, but torture should be limited as much as possible because such behavior is not only wrong but also unthinkable. Nothing is justifiable if the people themselves are unjustifiable to others.

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