Modern brutalities might sound a contradiction in terms. But new research shows despite international conventions banning torture, it has continued to flourish. Only nations and organizations across the world are turning more and more sophisticated to ensure that their horrendous punishments leave little visible scars.
Many of those subject to such devastating experiences seek asylum in UK. Even where torture leaves no visible effect, it could trigger a variety of serious mental health problems, according to Dr Nasir Warfa and his colleagues from the Queen Mary, University of London.
AdvertisementTheir study of the asylum seekers detained at Oakington Immigration Centre in Cambridgeshire. showed that 17 per cent of people at the Centre reported that they were tortured in their home countries.
Some reported cases of physical methods of torture such as being beaten with blunt objects, barbed wire, or fire. Other physical torture included various types of stabbing, covering with sugar water then exposed to insects, burning, finger or toenail extraction and foreign objects placed under nails.
Others experienced sexual torture including rape, forced bestiality, genital mutilation and forced abortion. Others still were suffocated or immersed in water, or forced to witness rape, violence or murder.
The majority of those who reported such incidents were fleeing African countries. Others had come from Asia, the Middle East and Europe.
"The torture reported by these people is horrific," said Kate Izycki, Senior Nurse who specialises in Transcultural Psychiatry. "This highlights that the use of torture continues and that the perpetrators are finding more elaborate methods; some of which often leave no physical mark."
Dr Warfa's previous research has shown that victims of torture are highly likely to suffer from severe mental health problems including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and feeling suicidal.
He adds: "Finding yourself in a foreign country where you must negotiate a difficult asylum system, where you cannot work and where you may not be able to speak the language would be difficult for anyone. Then add mental health problems caused by torture and the ever-present possibility of deportation".
"This new study clearly shows that we need to identify and address the health needs of those who have fled to the UK following torture in their home countries."