Torture represents a direct attack on the essence of human dignity. Its mere mention evokes a prolific and sordid history: Europe in the Middle Ages, with beds of nails, witch hunts, and burnings; the brutal methods used by military dictatorships against political dissidents in 1970s Latin America; and the gruesome photographs from Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and other Bush-era places of detention. While leaders in the West had once hoped that torture would disappear by the end of the twentieth century-and that our children would read about this unfathomable practice in history books and not in the daily papers-research indicates that torture is still routinely used in the majority of twenty-first-century nations.
In his six years as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak was tasked with reviewing thousands of complaints of torture and detention, investigating facts and circumstances surrounding the global practice of torture, and drawing up recommendations aimed at combating torture. Now, in Torture, readers can get a firsthand glimpse of how modern-day torture is investigated and understood by those working on the frontlines of researching, addressing, and preventing it.
Nowak recounts his experience visiting countries, reviewing documents, collecting evidence, and conducting interviews with perpetrators, witnesses, and victims of torture. He offers vignettes of the many states he visited, comparing their diverse experiences, and he explores the rise of new twenty-first-century practices of torture, questioning whether capital punishment, corporal punishment, solitary confinement, and contemporary forms of slavery qualify as torture. Ultimately, Torture offers vital insights for human-rights scholars and professionals as it tries to make the unfathomable more comprehensible and to clarify the causes and dynamics of torture.
Manfred Nowak is Professor of International Law and Human Rights at the University of Vienna, Secretary General of the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratization in Venice and Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights in Vienna. He was United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture from 2004 to 2010 and held various UN mandates relating to enforced disappearances between 1993 and 2006. In 2016, he was appointed UN Independent Expert leading the United Nations Global Study on Children deprived of Liberty. He is author of numerous books in the field of human rights, including Human Rights or Global Capitalism, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.
PART I. THE PHENOMENON OF TORTURE IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY
Chapter 1. The Incomprehensibility of Torture
Chapter 2. The Role of a United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture
Chapter 3. Independent Investigation of Torture: Methods
Chapter 4. States' Methods to Impede Objective Investigations
Chapter 5. Are Fact-Finding Missions Dangerous?
Chapter 6. Understanding Torture and Ill Treatment
Chapter 7. Inhuman Detention Conditions: Worse than Torture?
Chapter 8. Is Corporal Punishment Torture?
Chapter 9. Is Capital Punishment Torture?
Chapter 10. Are Domestic Violence or Female Genital Mutilation Torture?
Chapter 11. Torture in the Twenty-First Century
Chapter 12. Why Torture?
Chapter 13. Is There Ever a Justification for Torture?
Chapter 14. George Bush's War on Terror
Chapter 15. Torture and Enforced Disappearance
PART II. TORTURE IN INDIVIDUAL STATES
Chapter 16. Georgia: Plea Bargaining as a Substitute for Torture?
Chapter 17. Mongolia: Death Penalty as a State Secret
Chapter 18. Nepal: "A Little Bit of Torture Helps"
Chapter 19. China: Rehabilitation, Reeducation, or Brainwashing?
Chapter 20. Jordan: General Intelligence as a Cradle of Torture
Chapter 21. Austria: The Case of Bakary Jassey
Chapter 22. Paraguay: Excellent Follow-Up
Chapter 23. Nigeria: Notorious Torture Chamber in Lagos
Chapter 24. Togo: Successfully Releasing Detainees
Chapter 25. Sri Lanka: Perfect PR Strategy
Chapter 26. Indonesia: Three "Smoking Guns"
Chapter 27. Denmark and Greenland: The Principle of Normalization
Chapter 28. Moldova: Torture in the Form of Trafficking in Women
Chapter 29. Equatorial Guinea: Systematic Torture as Government Policy
Chapter 30. Uruguay: Full Cooperation Despite Appalling Detention Conditions
Chapter 31. Kazakhstan: Potemkin Villages
Chapter 32. Jamaica: Structural Violence Instead of Torture
Chapter 33. Papua New Guinea: Traditional Structures Coexist with Globalization
Chapter 34. Greece: The Joint Asylum and Migration Policy of the European Union, Put to the Test
"Manfred Nowak's experience as UN Special Rapporteur on Torture; his long and distinguished career in the human rights field; his keen intelligence, compassion, insight, and humanity; and his talent for telling a good story combine to make this an invaluable and indispensable document for anyone interested in human rights, prisoners' rights, or torture. From the first sentence to the last, Torture is filled with information and analysis you will not find elsewhere. If you want to understand what causes torture and how to end it, this is the book to read."-Jamie Mayerfeld, University of Washington "Torture is a unique book. I do not know of any other UN country or thematic rapporteur that has written about his or her experiences, and his book is most relevant reading for anyone interested in the work of UN human rights organs, particularly the present United Nations Human Rights Council."-Cees Flinterman, former director of the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights
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