October 27, 2010 - 10:34AM
Torture remains prevalent around the world and millions of jail inmates
suffer inhuman treatment, a UN specialist says.
Manfred Novak, UN special rapporteur on torture, on Tuesday said he had
visited 18 countries in the past year and only in one -- Denmark -- was
no case of torture reported.
"Torture is practiced in most countries of the world," he told a news
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"There are about 10 million prisoners around the world.
"I would say the clear majority of these prisoners have been subjected
to inhuman and degrading treatment, but there are many more millions of
persons in police custody who are treated in a worse manner."
Novak said the torture was part of a "global crisis" in justice.
"There are not enough legal safeguards ... preventing torture, that
means there is not enough political will," said Novak, adding the United
States has a special duty to put pressure on Iraq to end torture in prisons.
Novak said the visits he had carried out accounted for about 10 per cent
of the UN member states.
"I think it is a representative sample -- it is a very very sad picture
that I am painting," he said.
Egypt, Algeria, Zimbabwe and Cuba refused to allowed visits by the
expert, he said. He did not name the other countries he visited."