Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 25, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952637 | Print ISBN: 9780761923879 | Online ISBN: 9781412952637| Publisher:Sage Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Definitions of torture vary in national and international laws, but an internationally accepted definition is enshrined in the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT). UNCAT entered into force in 1987 and in 2006 had 142 ratifying countries accepting its provisions, some with reservations such as the United States. Article 1 defines torture as “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person.” It goes on to limit torture to only cover certain purposes, such as “obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind.” Article 1 further requires government involvement, that is, the ...