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Our contribution to an UN Report: Psychosocial dynamics conducive to torture and ill-treatment

Nils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, in his capacity made a call to stakeholders to contribute to his Report: Psychosocial dynamics conducive to torture and ill-treatment. The report aims to explore some of the predominant psychosocial dynamics which, in practice, tend to undermine, circumvent or even paralyse institutional checks and balances, thereby creating environments of unchecked power conducive not only to corruption but also to torture and ill-treatment. The larger purpose of the report is to show that the widespread practice of torture and ill-treatment, as well as societal acquiescence or support for such abuse, are deeply rooted in collective psychosocial behavioural patterns, which either remain largely unconscious to the human mind, or are based on fundamentally flawed rationalizations and severely distorted perceptions of reality. Relevant phenomena include patterns such as ‘system justification’, ‘wilful ignorance’, ‘bystander apathy’, ‘diffusion of responsibility’, ‘obedience’, ‘utilitarian moral disengagement’ and ‘group based moral disengagement’.

We are glad to announce that our contribution, written by Mr. Sammas Salur, PhD, has been accepted and published on the website of OHCHR. You can download our contribution under NGOs and CSO – Human Rights Defenders.