The 1984 UN Convention Torture, and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading or Punishment (“Convention Against Torture” or CAT) bans all forms of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment of all persons regardless of what someone did. This is absolute, and without exception! (See CAT Article 1). Also refer to the UDHR art 5, ICCPR Article 7.

All countries are prohibited from inflicting or permitting cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment (CID) against any persons residing in their territory or under their jurisdiction.

What’s Torture?
CAT defines Torture as “intentionally inflicting severe physical or mental pian or suffering” on another person “for the purposes of obtaining information, a confession, or punishing, intimidating or coercing” the victim.

Inhuman Treatment?
Any treatment which causes intense physical or mental suffering. This includes:

  1. Serious physical assault
  2. Psychological interrogation
  3. Cruel or barbaric detentions or restrictions
  4. Serious physical, mental or psychological abuse in a health or care facility
  5. Real or imment threat of torture towards someone

Degrading Treatment?
Extremely humiliating and undignified treatment of person. The threshold for degrading treatment depends on factors including the duration of the treatment, physical and mental impacts, age and sex, vulnerability and the health of the victim.

Any harsh or degrading treatment of person including detainees that causes physical or mental pain, suffering, humiliation or indignity to any person(s) constitute CID, and is illegal in the international community and must be prevented, avoided and outlawed everywhere in the world.

My question is why are barbaric acts permitted in so many places? Why are children humiliated in churches? Why are older women, widows, infirmed people, the poor, minorities, vulnerable and disabled persons paraded in some quarters of the world accused of witchcraft and all kinds of unsubstantiated acts and humiliated in on televisions, social media and in front of whole congregations?

Why are people taking photos and videos of individuals they associate with without their informed consent and distributing them on social media to humiliate, degrade and embarrass them? Why are prisoners or detainees being beaten mercilessly? Why are migrants treated so horribly? Why are so many children being beaten up and tortured?

A story I saw yesterday saddened me. A Ghanaian pastor whose apparent “nude” pictures were being circulated on social media purposely to humiliate, degrade and embarrass him. These pictures reportedly taken without his consent by a “juju” man he reportedly sought “spiritual support” from to build his church and/or perform “miracles” after he apparently failed to honour his side of their contractual obligations. He has lost face, all his respect, dignity and everything he built for two decades if not longer.

The mental anguish and suffering could be seen on the face of this disgraced osofo? Why? How is this barbarism permissible? Who proves his apparent wrong? Who sanctions that? How’s it wise, right or vitreous?

My questions?
Why are countries supposed to be democratic permitting these kinds of barbaric acts in their territories? Are they condoning torture? Why aren’t they protecting their inhabitants and/or those under their jurisdictions? What aren’t States punishing the perpetrators of torture?

People must speak up against all forms of torture and CID.The laws against torture is absolute and has no exemptions. Prohibition against torture is not conditional on anything. It doesn’t matter what the person did, what circumstances or who they are. If you are engaged in any torture, inhuman or degrading treatment put a stop to it because those acts are very harmful to the victims. It is so wrong and backward.

In honour of all those have suffered or are suffering from torture, mistreatment, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

Akosua G
Ontario, Canada
March 10, 2020.


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