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Silence is Torture’s Greatest Strength


The 26th of June marked International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. Many people in Australia have been victims of state sponsored torture, including the many refugees who have fled brutal violent regimes, and David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib who were tortured whilst in U.S. custody.

Today, please spare a thought for the the 170 men who still remain detained in Guantanamo Bay- think of what it would be like to be separated from your family for almost 10 years, think of what it must be like to be subjected to beatings, cold rooms, stress positions, 24 hour lighting, loud noises, brutal interrogations, and a constant state of fear. Think about what it would be like to have everything taken away from you- including your basic human rights- and have no way of challenging your torture because you have been prevented from seeking a hearing in normal courts- not because you have been charged or convicted of any crime, rather, because of what you have been accused of. This is the position that all detainees in US custody are in, including those held at Bagram airbase and other military prisons.

Torture is about inflicting silence on its victim- it is about removing the voice of the person who has been violated. History has shown us that the credibility and character of torture victims are always torn apart so that doubt is cast over their claims of violence. They become publicly discredited, vilified and dehumanised to ensure that the public loses their outrage at what has been done to them. The torturers release statements that ensure the ‘humane treatment’ of their captives and reiterate a commitment to human rights whilst in hidden back rooms human beings languish in misery and suffering. This is what torturers do so that they remain unaccountable for their actions- this is how they continue to get away with this most horrible of crimes.

Members of The Justice Campaign  remain opposed to torture of any kind and refuse to remain silent about torture. We believe that there is no excuse to torture another human being and those who sanction torture, condone it, cover it up or are complicit, must be held accountable as universally recognised human rights law dictates.

We must stand together and make our voices heard as silence is torture’s greatest strength.