Torture is a fact of life in Asian countries: Amnesty

Torture is a fact of life in countries across Asia, including in India, Pakistan and China, a human rights body claimed today, calling for "concrete action" against the "endemic" problem.

PTI| Last Updated: May 13, 2014, 16:53 PM IST

London: Torture is a fact of life in countries across Asia, including in India, Pakistan and China, a human rights body claimed today, calling for "concrete action" against the "endemic" problem.

"Torture is a fact of life in countries across Asia. The problem isn`t limited to a few rogue states, but is endemic throughout the region," said Richard Bennett, Amnesty International`s Asia-Pacific Director.

"Asian countries must stop paying lip service to their commitment to end torture. Signing up to the international treaties is important but not enough. It must be backed up with concrete action," he said at the launch of the organisation`s campaign "Stop Torture".

Torture is used to force confessions or to silence activists in countries such as China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

It is used to extort money in places such as Myanmar and Nepal, where poor and marginalised people are unable to bribe their way out of being tortured, the organisation claimed.

Amnesty International has reported on torture or other forms of ill-treatment in at least 141 countries from every region of the world over the past five years.

In a number of Asia-Pacific countries the use of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment is routine and accepted by many as a legitimate response to high levels of crime, according to the organisation.

In 2014, thirty years after the UN adopted the 1984 Convention Against Torture, which commits all governments to combating the abuse, Amnesty International has claimed that at least 23 Asia-Pacific countries still resort to torturing or ill-treating.

Given the secretive nature of the abuse, the true number is likely to be higher, according to the organisation.