UN News: States are still showing a “lack of awareness” over the seriousness of torture, despite the fact they are obligated to criminalize the practice, an independent United Nations expert said today, warning that few cases are ever brought to justice and where they are, the perpetrators generally get away with minor sentences.

“What is always strange to me if I go on a country mission and then speak to high Governmental officials, speak to the heads of prisons, of police stations etc, [is] a lack of awareness that torture is one of the most serious human rights violations,” the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Manfred Nowak, told reporters in New York.

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