What is torture?

  • Torture is an intentional act that causes physical and/or mental pain or suffering.

  • Its objectives are to obtain information and confessions as well as to punish and intimidate.

1. The term "torture" means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.

2. This article is without prejudice to any international instrument or national legislation which does or may contain provisions of wider application”.

To find more information about the concept and definitions of torture, you can read the following presentation by Emma Bolshia Bravo Cladera: El Concepto de la Tortura (in Spanish);
Or visit the websites of IRCT – International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims

What is State Violence?

  • Violence is the use of intentional force to achieve an end, such as a political objective, or to injure people or property. Violence may cause physical pain to those who experience it directly, as well as emotional distress to those who either experience or witness it.


  • State violence is legitimate and legal - and therefore it can be distinguished from the violence of a criminal group.

  • The victims of state violence are members of the public.

The state as the guarantor of citizens' welfare, justice and security, has a civilizing function. By killing, torturing, hurting and mistreating people, the government violates its civilising function.
State violence and terrorism are conscious human activities, made and lead by humans. Their objective is to hurt people through the action of others who are part of the power structure.
To learn more about this topic, read the document by Emma Bolshia Bravo Cladera: Violencia Estatal (in Spanish)

Why torture is important for us?

Torture raises deep concerns throughout the world. Its objective is not only to destroy the physical and psychological well-being of the tortured person but also, in many cases, the dignity and will of entire communities. Torture concerns the whole of humanity because it attacks against the very basis of our existence and deteriorates our hopes for a better future.