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Torture Widespread In Many Regions Of World

Torture Widespread In Many Regions Of World, UN Human Rights Council Told

New York, Sep 21 2006 5:00PM

Most States have not taken the necessary legislative measures to ensure that law enforcement officials get the message that torture constitutes a serious crime which can never be justified, an independent expert has told the United Nations Human Rights Council.

This failure contributes to a climate of impunity and a lack of awareness, which in turn constitutes one of the major reasons that torture persists in many countries and regions of the world, said the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Manfred Nowak.

He cited the findings of his recent trip to Jordan by way of illustration, but said that country was by no means the exception.

The practice of torture in Uzbekistan was systematic, Mr. Nowak told the session, which is meeting in Geneva. Torture persisted in Georgia, perpetuated by a culture of impunity. In Mongolia, torture persisted in police stations and pre-trial detention facilities and impunity went unimpeded.

In Nepal, torture is systematically practiced by the police forces and the military, he said, adding that in China, the practice of torture, though on the decline – particularly in urban areas – remains widespread.

Jordanian representative Mousa Burayzat said that regarding the definitions of torture in the Jordanian Criminal Court and the notion of impunity he was startled to hear his country used as an example of impunity with regards to torture. Jordan has severe penalties for those who encouraged torture, although the Government agrees that there is room for improvement, he added.

Georgia’s representative Levan Mikcladze underlined the importance of improving pre-trial prison conditions. As regards prevention of torture and inhumane and degrading treatment, the Government would like to reiterate its commitment to establish a truly independent mechanism to investigate any such cases, he said.

Nepalese representative Gyan Chandra Acharya said it was not accurate that law enforcement agencies were conducting torture in a systematic fashion, and the Government had also taken steps to address impunity.

China’s representative Sha Zukang said the Chinese Government attached great protection to the realization of human rights did all it could do to assist Mr. Nowak during his recent visit, but added that sections of his report were based on partial information or were not accurate such as the assertion that torture was still a common practice.


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