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Torture through the years

Torture is defined as the infliction of intense pain (as from burning, crushing, or wounding) to punish, coerce, or afford sadistic pleasure. As World War II came to an end in 1948, the UN drafted a document that helped form some rules against torture all across the world.


Torture is defined as the infliction of intense pain (as from burning, crushing, or wounding) to punish, coerce, or afford sadistic pleasure. As World War II came to an end in 1948, the UN drafted a document that helped form some rules against torture all across the world.

The Universal Declaration Of Human Rights was ratified in 1948, this document listed all the freedoms and rights of human beings all across the world. At the time, there were only 58 countries in the UN; 48 voted in favor of the UDHR, no one voted against but eight countries out of the 58 abstained from voting. Now specifically talking about torture, Article 5 of the UDHR states that no one shall be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. There was a whole treaty drafted just to tackle torture named the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which specifically tries and tackles the problem of state inflicted torture. Even though there are such strong and binding treaties in place and ratified by as many as 144 countries, the practice of torture and other such inhuman activities still take place in developing countries across the globe. Torture in states mostly takes place to terrorize the population and discourage dissent or any other kind of behavior, which is opposed by the government. There are several examples of torture for opposing the government that date back all the way to Stalin’s reign of USSR and one of the most striking examples comes from Nazi Germany. Torture in most countries across the globe was used as punishment after the individual has been convicted of a certain crime. In Europe, for many years torture was actually added to the criminal procedure that used to take place after an accused had been captured to make sure that the accused would give a confession regarding his or her crime or at least give up credible information regarding the crime that had taken place. Torture across the globe was used for various purposes but was mainly used to get the accused to spill out any credible information that could be used by the authorities to help solve the crime.  Torture is still a practice that is still in use in some parts of the world and this paper will analyze the recent happenings in the Democratic Republic Of Congo. [1]



Torture across the globe

Bosco Ntaganda also known as “The Terminator” is a war criminal and ex commander of operations of the Forces Patriotiques pour la Liberation du Congo (FPLC). Ntaganda and his troops in 2002-2003 planned to drive out the ethnic Lendu population out of Ituri by committing inhuman acts on the people that live there. The acts committed by Ntaganda and his troops can be equated to the tortuous acts committed by the Nazis during the reign of Germany. These acts included murder, sexual slavery, rape, pillaging, attacking the people of the village and using children below the age of 15 as soldiers.

This is not the first instance of torture against a particular ethnic group; there have been several cases that have been dealt by the ICC pertaining to this particular topic. One such case was that of The Prosecutor Vs. Dragolijub Kunarac, Radomir Kovac and Zoran Vukovic. The previously mentioned three men were found guilty of crimes against humanity specifically against the Bosnian Muslim civilians from April 1992 to March 1993. Spanning for almost a year, there was a conflict between Bosnian Muslims and the Bosnian Serbs. The Serbian Army and the groups linked to the army used to detain Muslim women and torture as well as sexually assault these women.

Torture in 2020

Muslims for several years have been subjected to unfair and cruel treatment and this even continues to the present day. Going back to another case that took place at the start of 2020 in India itself. This incident took place in Muzaffarnagar, which is a city in Uttar Pradesh. More than 130 Muslim residents of Muzaffarnagar had been tortured in police detention. Metal rods were used by the police to torture these Muslim residents, the youngest of them being 12 years old. The detention and the torture of these Muslims started to take place when there was a silent protest against the CAA, which had been passed by Prime Minister Modi and his Government. The protest turned violent when the police got involved and clashed with protestors, stones were pelted and there are reports of vehicles also being burnt. The police started to use weapons against all the protestors and they went and assaulted a Muslim cleric and all his students at the Sadaat Madrasa who were just resting after their prayers. Even after the cleric tried to explain to the police officers that they weren’t part of the protest, 50 police officers still went inside and assaulted both the cleric as well as all the students just on the pretext that they were Muslim. The students were then rounded up and then taken to the police station and were beaten up until they started shouting Hindu nationalist slogans.


All the above-mentioned incidents clearly show that torture is still an extremely prevalent practice all across the world and even with several laws and regulations in place; the practice of torture is still taking place. People are being tortured not only based on religion but also even based on several other factors. Torture as a practice should be completely abolished and should not be practiced anywhere. As a righteous citizen of this planet, we really hope that the practice of torture ceases to take place in every corner of the world. We hope to see this day soon.



[1] Henry J Steiner & Philip Alston, International Human Rights Law In Context : Law, Politics, Moral (Clarendon 3) (2012)


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