Daniel Halliday
Mar 3 · Last update 7 mo. ago.

Is torture ever justified?

Despite torture being near universally recognised as a crime against humanity it unfortunately seems to prevail in the modern world. Clandestine operations to use banned torture methods to coax information from, silence or ‘re-educate’ prisoners is used around the world, with numerous stories of CIA black sites, Chinese re-education centres and various instances linked to the Saudi Arabian government being just the most high profile. Does there need to be a change in the way we think of this issue? Should the use of ‘black sites’ become a war crime? Should countries be allowed to ‘outsource’ torture? theguardian.com/us-news/ng-interactive/2017/oct/09/cia-torture-black-site-enhanced-interrogation amnesty.org/en/countries/middle-east-and-north-africa/saudi-arabia/report-saudi-arabia vox.com/2018/10/24/18018282/china-reeducation-camps-uighur-muslims
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No, and it prevalence indicates a failure in international law
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Torture is never justified
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Yes in some extreme cases
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No, but there are blind-spots which need addressing
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No, and it prevalence indicates a failure in international law

The prevalence of the use of torture worldwide demonstrates the UN’s failure to enforce international law even when backed up by clear human rights treaties that are near universally ratified. The UN has called out practices related to torture throughout the 1970’s and 80’s in Chile and Argentina, Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and Cambodia, however the wide spread nature of torture operations in countries that have ratified torture treaties directly undermines the validity of such international laws and helps solidify an environment of impunity around such issues. The international criminal court needs more power then, to try and tackle the culture of impunity surrounding torture internationally and bring infringing parties to justice.

news.un.org/en/story/2011/06/379732-states-must-take-effective-measures-prevent-torture-un-chief

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Daniel Halliday
May 26
Created

Torture is never justified

There are no circumstances where torture is justified, and to make matters worse it is never effective as a means to gather information, and remains inhumane as a punitive measure. It is the cruel, inhumane and degrading nature of torture, coupled with this inefficacy that have led to numerous laws against torture worldwide, the most important of these being the United nations Convention against Torture signed by the vast majority of the world’s nations. Furthermore in this current cultural landscape torture can help justify terrorist actions in the minds of those committing them, the inhumane nature of the practice helping to sell terrorism in the form of radicalisation, framing terrorist actions as fighting for a just cause.

researchgate.net/blog/post/why-torture-is-never-justified

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Daniel Halliday
May 25
Created

Yes in some extreme cases

Some of the people being taken to black sites are responsible for mass murder; they may be in possession of information that can lead to a lot of saved lives or spared suffering. In this way torture may be an ethical necessity in the war against global terrorism, as high profile terrorists that have been captured may possess intimate useful knowledge that might be the only way to disassemble such clandestine organisations. Likewise in a state of modern warfare where collateral damage, friendly fire and civilians caught in the cross fire is an unfortunate commonality, why shy away from torturing someone who is known to be guilty when innocents die all the time as a by product of modern warfare. Should we not try to save lives by gathering intelligence rather than bombing blindly and maximising the chances of civilian casualty?

samharris.org/in-defense-of-torture

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Daniel Halliday
Apr 19
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No, but there are blind-spots which need addressing

You just have to look at the number of nations that have signed and ratified the United Nations Convention against Torture to see that torture is nearly universally detested and discouraged around the world. However the debate around torture is not whether torture is right or wrong but it is more of a discussion of what constitutes torture, with all parties that carry out actions that are recognised as torture probably believing what they are doing is separate from torture somehow, or justified in some way. The world needs a more comprehensive modern definition of what does and doesn’t constitute torture and new international guidelines or treaties on how to punish infringements of these moving forward. treaties.un.org/pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-9&chapter=4&lang=en

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Daniel Halliday
Mar 3
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