World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Asia Pacific: The Undercurrent Of Torture

News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International

18 October 2000 ASA 01/002/2000 195/00

Amnesty International's global Campaign Against Torture was launched today, beginning with a press conference in Tokyo, Japan. The organization is calling for worldwide action towards the abolition of torture.

Torture and ill-treatment persists as an undercurrent across the Asia Pacific region -- from India and Pakistan to the Philippines, China and Japan. Human rights violators include democratic, as well as repressive governments, the rich and the less developed.

"Torture is prevalent throughout the Asia Pacific. Governments in the region have it in their power to change this and rid the region of this gross act of inhumanity," Amnesty International said.

Torture in police custody is common throughout the region -- inflicted on both criminal suspects and political dissidents. People have died as a result of torture in several Asia Pacific countries including India, Pakistan, Myanmar and China.

Many of the region's governments have failed to take the most basic steps to prevent torture or investigate complaints. Corruption, official acquiescence and a lack of adequate human rights training for law-enforcement officials, means that in many countries torture has become routine practice.

Torture, including beating, electric shocks, hanging by the arms, shackling in painful positions, and sleep and food deprivation, is used throughout China.

It is used extensively against criminal suspects and political dissidents. The victims include members of ethnic minorities, such as Tibetans and Uighurs, and followers of religious or spiritual movements.

In many Asia-Pacific countries there is a clear link between discrimination and torture - those at most risk are the poorest and most marginalised groups in society. They may be ethnic minority groups who face discrimination in society at large, drug users and petty criminals, street children and women.

Women in South Asia are particularly vulnerable to torture by private individuals. Governments continue to fail to investigate patterns of torture including rape in custody, acid attacks and dowry-related murders.

In areas of conflict, including in Sri Lanka, India and Solomon Islands, whole populations are often at risk of torture from both state agents and armed opposition groups.

A climate of impunity runs across the region and affects almost all countries. From South Asia across to the Pacific, torturers act without fear of prosecution. Impunity is fuelled by official complacence, lack of judicial independence and shortcomings in criminal justice systems.

Police in Cambodia are known to be complicit in "mob justice". In 1999 there were at least 19 cases in which criminal suspects were killed by angry bystanders often with police standing by and watching.

There are persistent reports of ill-treatment in Japanese prisons, detention centres, immigration detention centres and police custody. Criminal suspects and migrant workers risk beatings and intimidation during questioning by police and immigration officials.

Many governments have not signed up to the UN Convention against Torture, and those who have often fail to implement its provisions.

During its year-long campaign, Amnesty International will be mobilising its membership in 15 Asia-Pacific countries, and working together with other organizations to change public and official attitudes towards torture. It will be calling on the region's governments to take real steps to prevent torture, and to address impunity and discrimination.

****************************************************************
You may repost this message onto other sources provided the main text is not altered in any way and both the header crediting Amnesty International and this footer remain intact. Only the list subscription message may be removed. ****************************************************************


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 


UN: UNHCR Chief Urges Better Support For 13 Million 'Exhausted' And Displaced Syrians
UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, has urged greater international support for the more than 13 million Syrians who’ve been displaced in the past 10 years...More>>


>UN: Recent Kosovo-Serbia Tensions Could ‘Unravel Steady But Fragile Progress’

Tensions over vehicle licence plates and anti-smuggling operations, between authorities in Kosovo and Serbia, in recent weeks, may contribute to unravelling “steady but fragile progress made in rebuilding trust among communities” in Kosovo and Serbia...
More>>

ITUC: Nobel Prize In Economics Explodes Minimum Wage And Jobs Myth

The prize was awarded to David Card, Joshua Angrist and Guido Imbens for real-world research in the 1990s that demonstrated, empirically, that the idea touted by conservative economists that higher minimum wages mean fewer jobs is not based on fact... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs


UN: With Clock Ticking, Sustainable Transport Key To Global Goals
From electric cars and buses to zero-carbon producing energy sources, new and emerging technologies along with innovative policy changes, are critical for combating climate change. But to be effective, they must ensure that transport strategies benefit everyone, including the poorest... More>>


COP26: 7 Climate Action Highlights To Remember

A September to remember, a pivotal month for climate action commitments. From the United Nations General Assembly week to the final pre-COP meeting, last month was an important time to build momentum... More>>


UN: Global Leaders Set To Act To Increase Energy Access While Reducing Emissions At First UN Energy Summit In 40 Years

Significant new commitments for financing clean energy, increasing renewables and improving access to electricity are expected to be announced on 24 September at the UN High-level Dialogue on Energy... More>>