Amnesty International’s Campaign against Torture

Having earned a four-year degree in psychiatry from McGill University, Dr. Milton Marcilio went on to complete a two-year program in child psychiatry at the McGill-affiliated Montreal Children’s Hospital. Dr. Marcilio currently operates a private psychiatry practice in Toronto. In addition, Dr. Marcilio supports Amnesty International.

For more than 50 years, Amnesty International has worked to end torture worldwide. Its years of advocacy for the Convention against Torture contributed to its adoption by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in 1984. Though 155 UN member states have signed the convention, over the last five years, Amnesty International has documented the continuing use of torture in at least 141 countries around the world.

Those who practice torture often use national security or public safety as a pretext. Offending governments may resort to stress positions, electrocution, sleep deprivation, rape, and other forms of torture to coerce, intimidate, punish, and silence their citizens. The people most vulnerable to such treatment include those who are already marginalized, for instance ethnic minorities, women and children, the economically deprived, members of the LGBTI community, and members of armed groups accused of opposing the establishment. In many countries, those who attempt to defend the rights of marginalized groups also risk being subjected to torture.

Over the next two years, the Stop Torture campaign will focus on five countries where torture is prevalent: the Philippines, Mexico, Nigeria, Morocco, and Uzbekistan. The campaign will put pressure on the governments of these countries to reveal the locations of torture sites, investigate torture claims, prosecute torturers, and enact measures that guarantee access to lawyers and justice for victims.

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