Silver Chips Online

Amnesty International holds forum on torture

Students discuss U.S. policy, ethics

By Natasha Prados, Online Managing Editor
February 23, 2006
Blair's Amnesty International club held a forum on torture today in room 251 at 3 p.m. Around ten attendees took an in-depth look at torture in terms of U.S. and international policy.

Amid reviewing the "Convention and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment" document by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and watching an interview with law experts conducted by PBS talk-show host Charlie Rose, students discussed the morality, effectiveness, implications and nature of torture.

The major focus of the debate was whether the U.S. has a policy of torture and whether that policy is justified in the face of a post-9/11 world threatened by terrorism.

For the most part, students felt that the torture at Abu Ghraib, the inhumane treatment at Guantanamo Bay and the existence of secret U.S. detention facilities abroad was indicative of a torture policy they feel is wrong. "At some point we're getting dangerously close to being like the enemy," senior Rose Feinberg said in regard to using torture tactics against terrorists.

Sophomore Jasleen Salwan agreed that torture is not only wrong but ultimately fruitless. "Even if it does make our enemy afraid of us, it'll fuel resentment around the world," and possibly create more terrorists, Salwan said.

The students then discussed the Geneva Convention and whether the U.S. is violating international law. They also explored the role of the media in relation to torture. Most students felt the media should investigate and speak out against the U.S.'s use of torture, at Guantanamo Bay, for example.

Sophomore Amina Goheer feels media access to detainees is especially important in Guantanamo Bay, where detainees are largely isolated. "They don't have a voice for themselves, so there has to be somebody to help them be heard, and that's what the press is for," Goheer said.

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/6262