The aim of torture is to obtain information or a confession, to incriminate a third person, to take revenge, or to establish a reign of terror within a community by breaking the body and the mind of the victim.


What is Torture?

According to the United Nations Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT) torture is defined as:

any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.

Freedom from torture is an agreed human right, as guaranteed under international law and defined by UNCAT.

Despite being illegal under international law, sources indicate that government-sanctioned torture is committed in more than 130 countries worldwide.

Ireland ratified the UN Convention on April 11th, 2002 and is therefore legally bound by its articles.

The Irish government fulfils its obligations by providing funding to Spirasi through the HSE.

Some Common Types of Torture Include:

  1. Blunt trauma: crushing injuries, whipping, beatings
  2. Penetrating Injuries: gunshots, shrapnel, stab wounds, slash cuts
  3. Suspension
  4. Burns: chemical and thermal, cold and heat
  5. Asphyxiation: wet, dry, chemical
  6. Electric Shocks
  7. Forced Human Experimentation
  8. Traumatic Removal of Tissue and Appendages
  9. Extreme Physical Conditions: forced body positions and extreme cold/heat condition
  10. Sexual Torture: sexual humiliation, trauma to genitals, rape
  11. Mental Torture: direct threats, sensory deprivation, solitary confinement, mock execution, witnessing torture, uprooting