Recent reports on Britain’s complicity in torture of detainees by the US during the “war on terror” were alarming. Even more alarming is that no questions have been asked about whether Australia should launch an independent inquiry into what our government knew about the torture committed by our main security ally, the US.
The 1984 UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment is the main convention that prohibits torture under international law. No nation is ever permitted to use torture or support the torture used by others.
Despite this global ban, torture is still used by states around the world to inflict physical or mental pain and suffering on individuals. It is often used to gain information and confessions and to intimidate and punish individuals.
Australia has a legal and moral obligation to prevent torture. Without an independent Iraq torture investigation, however, questions will remain over what Australia knew, and how it responded to the abuse of detainees by the US.
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