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United Nations: Torture Committee Chair Calls for Increased Efforts

(Oct. 27, 2010) Claudio Grossman, the Chairperson of the United Nations Committee Against Torture, stated on October 19, 2010, that countries need to increase their efforts to combat the use of torture and recommit to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Dec. 10, 1984, UNITED NATIONS TREATY COLLECTION, http://
(last visited Oct. 20, 2010)). He added that vigilance against inhumane practices is especially important in emergency situations, in which authorities may be trying to learn key information from prisoners. He stressed the values embodied in the treaty, noted that there was a difference between isolated incidents and “torture as a policy,” and went on to say:

This is the problem with torture: it can become natural. There are situations where everyone goes crazy and the normal values of human beings stand on their heads. It is very important to fight those situations. … We need to react very strongly against this attempt to get accustomed to torture. … This nonsense of ticking bombs, extraordinary situations as an excuse for torture. I’m surprised that people still talk about that. It happens less now than some years ago, and I think we need to build momentum against it. … We need to act so that we elevate education of people so that they go beyond the passive reactions when there are serious crimes committed. (Sarah Miley, UN Rights Expert Calls for Increased Measures to Combat Torture, PAPERCHASE NEWSBURST (Oct. 20, 2010),

Navi Pillay, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, has noted that while 147 countries have ratified the Convention, 45 U.N. member states have yet to do so and many nations continue to use torture. (UN Rights Expert Urge [sic] States to Comply with Convention Against Torture, UN NEWS CENTRE (Oct. 19, 2010),

The ten-member U.N. Committee Against Torture has found that women are especially vulnerable in situations of armed conflict. The Committee has determined that it is also a breach of the treaty’s prohibition against deporting people to places where they may be tortured if those people are sent to countries where there is a risk they will become victims of sexual violence. (Id.)