State torture of citizens 'endemic' across world: report
From the "Jesus Christ" crucifixion technique in Eritrea to the Uzbek practice of chilli pepper enemas, torture is a routine practice for state authorities across the globe, a report said Thursday.
"One can reasonably estimate that more than half of the member states of the United Nations resort to torture," said the 370-page report by the Paris-based Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture (ACAT).
The report, entitled "A World of Torture", paints a chilling picture of state torture based on a study of 22 states on five continents and concludes that its use is "endemic in a large number of countries."
While the torture of journalists, union activists or rights campaigner tends to get most media coverage, most victims are ordinary people "who come from the underprivileged and vulnerable categories of the population."
Totalitarian states, dictatorships and many Islamic regimes are major offenders, as are countries that face political violence and instability, said the ACAT study, the first such annual report the group has published.
Torture has become a "veritable system of investigation and of repression at the service of the security apparatus" in African states run by dictatorial governments or by governments "with dictatorial tendencies."
The report listed these as Mauritania, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
It also singled out Latin America as a region where the heritage of decades of military dictatorship meant that "recourse to violent methods, notably torture, remains widespread among the security forces."
ACAT was founded in 1974 with the aim of increasing awareness of the widespread use of torture across the world and to campaign for its abolition.
© 2010 AFP