Trayectorias Humanas Trascontinentales is the scientific digital journal of the International Network Latin America, Africa, Europe, the Caribbean (ALEC) “Territories, Vulnerable Populations and Public Policies” whose headquarters are at the Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences of the University of Limoges (France).
Democratic regimes and the international community have made great efforts during the 20th century to eradicate torture. But, the United Nations and a long list of international organizations claim that it is still practiced in the 21st century despite the ratification of Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Since it came into effect in 1987 and until 2022, 173 countries have committed themselves to take effective legislative, administrative, judicial, or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under their jurisdiction.
Acts of torture, in addition to being contrary to human rights, constitute an attack on the moral values of modern society and on the commitments and progress of international law. Above all, it is contrary to the democratic state and alien to its systems of justice. On the contrary, in autocracies torture occupies a central place within the repressive mechanisms against opponents, critics or dissidents.
Jeremy Waldron in his book Torture, Terror, and Trade-Offs: Philosophy for the White House (2010) invites us to reflect on why its prohibition is absolute and constitutes an archetype of the rule of law and the democratic spirit. On the contrary, to tolerate it or to promote it as a justified practice in our times, leads us to barbarism and brutality.
For his part, Luigi Ferrajoli in his presentation to the bookPrivación de la libertad y derechos humanos. La tortura y otras formas de violencia institucional en el estado español (Deprivation of liberty and human rights. Torture and other forms of institutional violence in the Spanish state) entitled “La batalla contra la tortura: la batalla de la razón” (The battle against torture: the battle of reason), comments that:
"What characterizes torture... is... its elimination from the public gaze, in a double sense. On the one hand, because torture is consummated in secret, in barracks, in prisons, in police stations, in the tête à tête between inquisitor and interrogated. On the other, because torture is never, I would say almost as a matter of principle, the object of study..."
And it is precisely what we intend to carry out in this special edition of TraHs magazine; that is, by talking about torture(s) "to break in the civic, political and scientific field" with the "secrecy", "silence" and "invisibility" that surround torture, in violation of the most elementary rights, of "the basic guidelines of democracy and the rule of law".
The objective here is to contribute to the construction of knowledge that will allow us to warn about this type of abuse(s) and about what democratic values should represent from theoretical reflections, empirical studies, case studies or epistemological proposals, with legal, sociological, psychological approaches... Texts on the contexts of incidence, testimonies of the effects produced by acts of torture on survivors, vulnerable groups that suffered torture(s), methods or classification of forms of torture(s) and their application, successful cases of prevention, attention, investigation, sanction or reparation, anywhere in the world where there are conflicts, terrorism, organized crime, repression and other forms of violence.