Past Event

Café Society: When is Torture Permissible?

Café Society will meet at the Carbondale location ONLY this week.

As we have engaged in a war on terrorism in this new millennium, we have been forced to ask ourselves questions about the unthinkable: torture. How have we defined or redefined the use of torture practices sanctioned by the American public?

On December 10, 1948 the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. Article 5 states “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”. Since that time the use of torture has been regulated by a number of international treaties, of which the two major ones are the United Nations Convention Against Torture and the Geneva Conventions. Yet, today we debate the policy of torture as practice within a legal context. What has led to this evolution?

Is there a class of individuals who are exempt from human rights or occasions that exist where human rights are suspended? What is the distinction between extreme uses of coercion during interrogation and torture? Many interviews of torture victims and studies argue that torture is not a reliable method of extracting information. If there is merit to their claims, why do we continue to use it?

How is the use of torture linked to the notion of power? By engaging in or allowing the practice what messages does it send to friends and enemies? Outside the parameters of international terrorism, do we allow torture practices in our home or on our streets?

Join us this week at Café Society to share your thoughts on the use of torture.

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For more informaiton, please contact Kristin Millikan at 312.422.5580.