<td><font face="Arial, Helvetica,
border="1" alt="Children stand in front of a sign which tells
people about the peace
face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2"><b>This
booklet is part
of a package of education
materials produced by Amnesty International to provide
teachers and educators with a
generic resource that can be used to prepare lessons
that assist children
understand that torture is a violation of human rights.
It is written for 10 to
12-year-old children but can be adapted as required
by the teacher/educator for
other age groups. </b></font></p>
TORTURE is wrong, unjust and
illegal. It should never happen to anyone.
Everyone has the right not to
be tortured. Everyone also has the right to be free of the threat
But in the world we live in,
many people are tortured. In fact, in more than 150 countries
torture is used to hurt, frighten and punish people.
This booklet is about torture
and what you can do to stop
torture. It has been written
by an organization called Amnesty International.
Please help us to make the
world free of torture.
Amnesty International and
Amnesty International is an
international organization that works to protect the rights of all
people. These rights are called ''human rights''.
Human rights belong to every
person. You do not have to do anything to deserve them, and it
doesn't matter who you are or where you live.
Everyone in the world is born
with the same human rights. For example, we all have the right to
practise our religion, speak our own language, get an education,
and have shelter and food. At work, we have the right to join a
trade union and be protected from injury. We also have the right
not to be tortured or abused by the police or other officials even
when we are accused of breaking the law.
You can't give away these
rights - and nobody can take them
from you. But they are often
abused even though they should be respected by everyone.
Over a million people in more
than 150 countries are members of Amnesty International. They take
action to protect human rights and to make sure that everybody
knows what their human rights are.
Every day Amnesty
International researchers work to find out when people's human
rights are not being respected whoever they are and wherever they
live. They then tell Amnesty International members, governments and
Amnesty International members
also stage protests and campaign for people whose human rights are
being abused - including people who are being tortured.
What is torture?
Torture is deliberately
causing someone pain or suffering in order to get something from
them or to
People are tortured in many
different ways. For example, they may be severely beaten, or forced
to stand for a long time in a painful position, or held alone in a
cell without any human contact for weeks or months.
People may also be tortured
by being told that they or people they love will be hurt, whether
or not the threat is carried out.
Why are people
There are many reasons why
people are tortured. Often torture is used to force the victim to
confess to a crime. Sometimes it is used to frighten or punish
people. At other times, people in government use torture as a way
of holding on to power.
These three stories show
other reasons why people are tortured:
Torture can happen because of
what people think you know:
Police arrest a young woman.
They think some of her friends took part in a protest against the
government. They blindfold her, keep her alone in a cold cell and
tell her that they will hurt her if she doesn't tell them the names
of those friends.
Torture can happen because of
who you are:
A family of refugees is
living in a hostel. They have a different
religion, speak a different
language and have different coloured skin to most people in that
country. They are arrested, called racist names and punched by
police, even though they have done nothing wrong.
Torture can happen when
people want to punish you:
A teenage boy is sent by a
court to a special centre for difficult
children. He behaves badly,
breaking furniture and hitting a member of staff. He is punished by
being beaten and locked in a dark room by himself.
Even if someone has done
something wrong or has broken the law they should never be
Who are the
People who have power over
others sometimes use torture.
Some police officers are
torturers. This may be because they want information, or want to
force someone to confess to a crime, or simply don't like a
Some soldiers are torturers.
They may torture civilians - people who are not involved in the
fighting - or they may torture enemy soldiers they have captured.
Sometimes they torture people to get information, sometimes to
punish them for supporting the other side.
Some prison officials are
torturers. They may torture prisoners to punish them, to make them
information about other
prisoners, or to frighten them so they obey the rules.
When someone is battered,
threatened or abused by a family member, an employer, a carer or
someone else in the community, this can also be torture; the
authorities must take steps to prevent and punish such acts, no
matter who carries them out.
People who work for the
government and the police have a special responsibility to protect
people. Most of them treat others kindly and with respect.
Unfortunately, some of them abuse their power, do not respect
people and their human rights, and may even use torture.
Torture may be suffered by
every type of person - women and men, children and
In a few countries, torture
is so common that almost everyone who is picked up by the
or is in prison is likely to
be tortured or ill-treated.
In other countries, certain
people are more likely than others to be tortured - because of
origin or their political or
religious beliefs; because they live in an area where opposition to
government is strong; or
because they are poor or belong to a trade union.
Torture is WRONG
No matter who the torturer
No matter who the victim
No matter where it
Everyone should feel
Whoever they are,
Wherever they come
Whatever they have
Torture is ILLEGAL
International law and the
laws of almost every country say clearly that torture is a crime.
But in some places the people who are in charge of standing up for
the law, such as government officials, police and soldiers, are the
very people who break the law by using torture.
Around the world, torturers
are often not punished for their actions. This sends a message that
torture is acceptable and that torturers can carry on with their
To stop torture, another
message is needed - that anyone suspected of torture will be taken
to court, tried as a criminal and sent to prison if found
Say NO to torture
Help us take a step to stamp
In October 2000 Amnesty
International launched a Campaign Against Torture and is
asking everyone - including
you - to help.
launches a campaign when action is needed to stop a serious abuse
of human rights, like torture. A campaign:
tells people all over the
world about the human rights problem and asks them to help in the
asks people in power - such
as a government - to take action to stop the abuses.
believes that we can - and must - stop torture.
Together we will:
make sure that torturers are
brought to justice
say NO to people who think
that torture is OK
You can make a
If you want to take part in
this campaign, you could:
hold a demonstration or a
public event to tell people what is happening
write letters and sign
petitions to send to people in power all over the world to ask them
to stop torture
ask people in the newspapers,
television and radio to talk about these issues
make a sign saying ''Torture
Free Zone'' and use it to declare your room, your house, your
school or your street a Torture Free Zone
write and share stories,
poems and songs about everyone's right not to be
draw a candle in memory of
people who have been tortured and tell your friends and family what
hold a school assembly about
torture and the campaign to stop it
Amnesty International was
founded 40 years ago by UK lawyer Peter Benenson.
He became angry after reading
a newspaper report about two Portuguese students. They had been
sentenced to seven years in prison. Their crime? Raising their
glasses in a toast to freedom.
Peter Benenson thought of
ways to persuade the Portuguese government - and all governments -
to release such victims of injustice. His idea was to bombard the
government with letters of protest.
To draw public attention to
the fate of people held in prison for their political beliefs -
like the Portuguese students - Peter Benenson and several activists
organized a one-year campaign. They called it Appeal for Amnesty,
The campaign was launched in
a newspaper article on 28 May 1961. The Forgotten Prisoners called
on people everywhere to protest peacefully against the imprisonment
of people around the world for their political and religious
beliefs. These people were called prisoners of conscience. With
that, a new phrase entered the vocabulary of world
The article received a
tremendous response. Within a month, more than a thousand readers
letters of support and offers
of practical help. They also sent details of the cases of many more
prisoners of conscience.
This was to be the driving
force behind Amnesty International - popular action by many people
As a result of the support
the newspaper article received, six months later Peter Benenson
announced that what had started as a brief publicity effort was
being converted into a permanent international movement. Amnesty
International was born.
Today, Amnesty International
is still campaigning for human rights - and now has more than one
million members in more than 150 countries and territories. Since
1961, Amnesty International activists have worked on more than
45,000 cases and have responded to more than 16,600 urgent appeals
on behalf of men, women and children in immediate danger. Many of
these appeals were on behalf of people at risk of
The outrage at injustice that
led to the founding of Amnesty International 40 years ago continues
to inspire and motivate millions of people determined to build a
This booklet is part of a
package of education materials produced by Amnesty International to
provide teachers and educators with a generic resource that can be
used to prepare lessons that assist children understand that
torture is a violation of human rights. It is written for 10 to
12-year-old children but can be adapted as required by the
teacher/educator for other age groups.
A demonstration led by a
women's organization outside Sarwar Police Station in Rajasthan,
India, on 14 September 1999 protesting about abuses of the rights
of a dalit woman and her family by police. Dalits (previously known
as "untouchables") regularly experience discrimination and abuses
of their human rights, and violence against dalit women in
Rajasthan is common and rarely punished.