You’ve hung from the ceiling for hours.

Your muscles scream. Electric shocks convulse your body. Water forced into your mouth. You think you’re drowning. Rape. Mock executions. Whatever it takes to break you. To make you submit. To sign a confession, or hand over information. You’re hidden away from the world’s gaze.

You think you are forgotten, you think you are alone. 



We are witnessing a global crisis on torture. Over the last five years, Amnesty International has reported on torture in 141 countries – three-quarters of the world.

For decades, Amnesty has exposed governments who torture. We have supported torture survivors to get justice. We also led international pressure that resulted in the UN Convention against Torture 30 years ago. Today, laws against torture are in place almost everywhere.

Yet you only have to glance at the news to know that laws alone are not enough. 

Torture is thriving because rather than respecting the law, many governments are either actively using torture or turning a blind eye.

We are building a powerful barrier between the torturer and the tortured. 

How? By insisting that lawyers are present during interrogations. That doctors are on hand to examine detainees. That confessions obtained by torture can’t be used as evidence in courts. That detainees are allowed to see their families. And by insisting that anyone who is involved in torture is brought to justice. 

We are positioning ourselves inside the very systems that are failing to protect people. 

I used to be afraid and thought about not speaking out. But I’m not willing to accept this. 

Claudia Medina, torture survivor in Mexico
Amnesty launches the first campaign to “make torture as unthinkable as slavery”.
In response to international pressure the UN General Assembly approves its first ever resolution denouncing torture.
The UN adopts the Declaration Against Torture on 9 December. This landmark decision is key to creating a legally binding UN Convention against Torture
Finally, after years of campaigning by Amnesty, the UN General Assembly adopts the convention against Torture. Two of the most challenging issues were universal jurisdiction over alleged torturers, and how to implement the treaty effectively
he UN Convention against Torture enters into force on 26 June after 20 states ratify it. It’s a significant step towards eradicating torture worldwide.
The UN declares 26 June International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. Amnesty exposes 100 companies worldwide that produce and sell torture instruments
Former Chilean president Augusto Pinochet is arrested in London, after Amnesty reminds all European governments of their obligation to detain him under the Convention against Torture. Despite Pinochet being released in 2000 after a controversial medical test, this is a bold step forward for international justice.
In a vital precedent, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda rules that rape is a form of torture.
The UN adopts the Optional Protocol against Torture, which establishes a combined national and international inspection system for places of detention
The UN Committee against Torture says that states should also prevent and punish torture that isn’t committed by governments. This includes rape, domestic violence, female genital mutilation and human trafficking.
More than 150 countries have ratified the Convention against Torture. But torture still happens. Amnesty’s Stop Torture campaign continues…

Start here, start now, stop torture

In countries such as the Philippines and Mexico, torture is widespread and routine in police stations. In Morocco-Western Sahara and Uzbekistan, the courts often rely on confessions people have made while being tortured. And in Nigeria, beatings and mock executions are just some of the treatments people face in detention. 

We can’t stop torture alone. We need you to join us, and stand between the torturers and the tortured too. 

The pain of torture is unbearable. I never thought I would be alive till this day. 

Arrested when he was 16 years old, Moses Akatugba is on death row in Nigeria. He confessed to stealing after being tortured.

Meet the Activists

“It is hard to describe how I felt working next door to a police station in Angola in 2003. We could hear the screams of people being tortured. I felt helpless. But I now know that together we can make a big difference by calling on governments to act.” Katharine Derderian, Brussels, Belgium
“I once heard a torture survivor say: ´The first slap in the face destroyed my faith in humanity which I had taken a lifetime to build´. You can’t protect society by destroying its pillars.” Maurício Santoro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
“One of the biggest tragedies of human history is that there are many wrong convictions, when torture is common. If we want to end hatred and vengeance, and build a caring and humane society, we need to unite and stop torture.” Lkhagva-Ochir Dambasuren, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
“On my way home police arrested me for not having an identity card. In the cell, I endured an internal search by a child detainee. The psychological trauma was shattering. Now I can’t rest knowing that Kenya’s children might become tomorrow’s torturers. I will not stop fighting until we stop torture.” Charles Baraza Nyukuri, Nairobi, Kenya
“Torture is a shameful problem. Those who suffer torture and their loved ones are traumatized. No survivor can forget. By campaigning to stop torture I am helping to build a fairer world.” Gony Droni, Tel Aviv, Israel


To empower young people to understand and take action to stop torture, we have designed Empower Against Torture: a series of human rights education workshops.