Torture: A Painful Experience of Humanity

By Haque, Mohammed Zahirul | Economic Review, September 1997 | Go to article overview

Torture: A Painful Experience of Humanity


Haque, Mohammed Zahirul, Economic Review


Torture is a very horrible act. It has been very aptly defined by the UNO on December 10, 1984 as follows:-

"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 confession, punishing him for an act he or the third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind", when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquisition of a public official or a person acting in official capacity.

While Amnesty International has defined it in a more compact and concise form.

"Torture is a deliberate, systematic or wanton inflection by one or more persons acting alone, or on the order of any authority to force another person to yield information to make a confession, or for any other reason".

UN Torture - Resolution, 1997 suggests to the General Assembly to observe June 26 as a UN International Day in support of the victims of torture, and the effective functioning of the Convention against Torture of 1987.

The Human Rights Commission's resolution contained a series of points. Through this resolution, the member countries are reminded of the obligations and reporting which the ratification of the torture convention entails and which is largely neglected. IRCT (The Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims), a non-political organisation created in 1985 with an objective so that research may be made into all aspects of torture, to support education and training of relevant personnel in the medical, social, legal and ethical aspects of torture. Torture is used in more than one-third of the countries of the world, and is perpetrated on a part of its citizens, because the government wants to stay in power. It literally blots out the human spirit, and eliminates the courage to resist tyranny and oppression.

The Human Rights Commission underlines that freedom from Torture is one of the fights of every person and its prohibition is affirmed in Article 5 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and that none should be subjected to torture, or other inhuman punishment, and that such actions constitute a criminal attempt to destroy a human being physically and mentally, which can never be justified by any means. The commission is convinced that the Society that tolerates torture cannot claim to respect human rights.

The above definition clearly shows that torture is a horrible interference in the human rights. Torture is aimed at giving continuous suffering to the enemy, so that in course of time, self-confidence, courage and all other good qualities gradually decay, yielding to lack of concentration, depression, feeling of insecurity, which casts a deep effect on his off-springs. Torture victims need, therefore, physiological as well as psychological treatment. Torture leaves a person between life and death, under severe mental, and physical pains, until he is relieved by death of all pains. Torture, therefore, always aims at the "destruction of the spirit of strong people".

Dr. Inge Genefke (57) a citizen of Denmark and a War child, took a medical degree with a specialty in neurology in 1965. She had been very compassionate with the tortured people since her girlhood. She had vastly studied various subjects, but the pitiable condition of the people undergoing torture cast the deepest impression on her heart and mind, and it was with a view to help those helpless tortured people, she prosecuted her studies in medicine, and became the first doctor of her family. She still remembers the maltreatment of the Danish people at the hand of the enemies, people, because her father was a part of 'resistance' and had told such stories to her as made the hair stand on end. She had also seen in her childhood the picture of the Danish leader "Kaj Munk" in a book which showed that he was very badly maltreated by the enemies. …

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