Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Benjamin R. Dolin
Torture has been used as a tool of the state throughout recorded history. Although it is almost universally condemned today, it is still an issue of grave international concern. Most governments do not attempt to defend the use of torture but choose either to officially deny the practice or to treat incidents of torture as aberrations. Amnesty International, an international human rights organization, estimates that more than 100 countries in the world systematically practice torture. The everyday use of the term torture to describe violent physical misdeeds or the imposition of psychological duress is broader than the term's use in law. Torture in the legal context is often considered to be torment that is inflicted by a public authority for allegedly public purposes. A nearly universally accepted definition of torture is found in the United Nations Convention. Article 1 of the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman ...