ASIA: Torture -- Asian and Global Perspectives, issue No. 3 of Volume 1 is now available
The third issue of volume one of Torture: Asian and Global Perspectives is now available and is being distributed at the time of writing.
Published jointly by the AHRC and the Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims (RCT Denmark) Torture: Asian and Global Perspectives is a great contribution to the anti torture campaign in the Asian region in that it brings together reports, interviews, speeches and commentaries under one cover and in doing so manages to highlight the situations in most Asian countries. Indeed, it does not just highlight the issues but identifies causes and puts forward attainable goals for torture prevention.
This issue's Cover Story article, Silence Implies Support by Jack Clancey, Chairman of the AHRC and Asian Legal Resource Centre, is a reproduction of the speech given by Mr. Clancey to the meeting of Asian parliamentarians at the Asian Alliance against Torture and Ill-Treatment. In his speech Mr. Clancy covers a wide range of topics, all of which explain the ongoing causes of torture in the region. These include the need for adequate budgetary allocations, the commonly held belief among police officers that policing without torture is impossible and the impunity given to perpetrators by those in power and the lack of laws to criminalise torture. Mr. Clancey goes on to remind us that in the fight to eliminate torture,
.....it is civil society organisations that play the most vital role: to human rights defenders that the victims go in order to get help. Thus, there is a need to protect the freedom of human rights defenders to offer their services to victims, as well as society.
He closes by making "two provocative statements".
Silence implies support. To remain silent in the face of such widespread torture implies that people do not think torture is wrong......
Without laws making it illegal torture is considered legal. We should demand that laws are passed making torture illegal and should insist that those laws be strictly implemented.
The magazine is readable and well presented and this probably explains why, when asked to do an interview for the publication Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, the current chairman of the Institute for Political Economy was glad to do so. In his interview Dr. Roberts speaks knowledgeably about the attitudes and programmes of past US presidents. When asked directly about his analysis of torture with regard to the United States he says,
In the US torture is prohibited the US Constitution and by US statutory law........I do not know why the George W. Bush regime violated US and international law and tortured "detainees".......
This, as he explains has had a knock on effect in that,
.....if the executive branch could violate, with impunity, both constitutional and legal prohibitions against torture, the precedent could be expanded to habeas corpus, due process, and to free speech.......
Once law and the Constitution could be side-lined, the regime could escape war criminal accountability for its wars of naked aggression.
In his closing comments Dr. Roberts echoes the thoughts of many Asians when he says,
....there is no prospect for a moral and torture free world until the west is held accountable for its crimes.
Western governments have become the antithesis of morality.
For further information on the current issue please go to: firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Author:
Stewart Sloan is the author of five novels and a collection of anecdotes about the Royal Hong Kong Police force whom he served as a Confidential Assistant for 11 years. He currently writes articles and satire on various human rights issues in several Asian countries. More of his work may be found at: http://sloanbooks.blogspot.com and https://www.amazon.com/author/stewartsloan