May 26, 2014 | By Parmjeet Singh
London, United Kingdom (May 22, 2014): Salil Shetty, the current Secretary General at Amnesty International last week released a report ‘Thirty years of broken promises’ to mark the United Nations adoption of the Convention Against Torture in 1984.
155 different countries have signed the Convention, but 30 years later more than half these states continue with the use of torture.
India is a signatory to the Convention, but has failed to ratify it for the last 17 years. India also continues to reject allowing the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. This visit has been pending since 1993, for over 21 years.
Releasing the report Salil Shetty wrote that his father was a journalist for one of India’s leading newspapers and in 1984 he wrote about the Sikh struggle for self-determination. He was picked up by Indian police and it was weeks before his family saw him again.
He has written to say back in 1984, a spell in an Indian police station meant a beating — or worse. Police would knock you about and ask questions later.
A few years before his father’s arrest, officers had picked up a classmate. When his parents found out, they rushed to the police station – just in time to hear his anguished screams through the precinct walls. Officers had tied him to the ceiling and flipped him so the weight of his body forced his joints apart.
When torture comes to your home, it brings with it fear and helplessness. Salil Shetty has this month demanded that torturers — whoever they are, wherever they are and whatever their reasons for torturing — are brought to justice. My father was lucky to walk free at the end of his ordeal. Many more in India — and around the world — do not. Torture must be stopped.
Amnesty International has recorded at least 27 different torture methods still being used today – beating, electric shocks, rape, whipping, burning, using drugs and dogs. Torturers are now international outlaws.
Salil Shetty was approached by the Sikh Federation (UK) and invited to speak at the Remembrance March and Freedom Rally on Sunday 8 June in London. He has thanked the Sikh Federation (UK) for the invitation and passed on his sincere regrets that he will not be able to participate as he will be in Turkey on Sunday 8 June.
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