Torture and the Violation of Human Rights

Torture is a serious violation of human rights. The practice of inflicting severe pain is strictly prohibited by international law (O’Byrne, 2003, pp.

164-165). Yet, the use of torture has become more universal and commonly practiced despite being an illegal act (O’Byrne, 2003, pp.169-170). In many countries, torture is prohibited and cannot be accepted under any circumstances. It is seen as an inhumane way of treating accused individuals regardless of the crime committed. Meanwhile some countries still use torture as a means of obtaining information and or a confession (O’Byrne, 2003, p.

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170). Traditionally, torture has been defined as the act in which pain or suffering (physical or mental) is intentionally inflected on a person for various reasons such as obtaining information or a confession (O’Byrne, 2003, pp.170-172).Today, torture has become widespread around the world. Many people including the government and the torturer may justify its use under certain circumstances.

For example, the “ticking bomb scenario” is used to question our moral priorities regarding torture. In other words, national security is used to justify torture when there is a terrorist plot to commit mass murder.For example, if terrorists have planted a nuclear bomb or lethal gas and it is impossible to evacuate the city in time (making disarming the bombs unrealistic) governments have justified using torture to procure information. A suspect, who knows the location of the bombs has been arrested by the police but refuses to divulge the information during interrogation can betortured (O’Byrne, 2003, pp.170-172 ).Yet, morally and legally can the suspect be tortured to extract the information? The “ticking time bomb scenario” forces individuals and governments to make a choice between two evils, namely;doing nothing and harming ourselves, or we can do something morally repulsive, and torture a suspect to save the lives of others (O’.