Intercultural Human Rights Law Review


Jessica Wright

First Page



The persistence of brutal warfare sparked an international movement against torture at the turn of the twentieth century. By 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) introduced a ban on torture.' Two decades later, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) followed suit, prohibiting member States from subjecting individuals to torture. However, in decades following said treaties, brutal dictatorships proved that short provisions in international documents are not enough to prevent torture. The plight of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet illustrated the weaknesses of the international framework on torture. Despite the heinous acts of torture committed under his regime, Pinochet enjoyed impunity at the international level. Torture needed its own treaty. Inspired by gruesome reports of electrocutions and forced disappearances in Chile, Amnesty International launched a global campaign to end torture. Over time, the campaign against torture gained momentum. Sweden proposed a treaty to the United Nations (U.N.) that eventually became the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Torture Convention).

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