Put an end to UK torture

Donald Trump has promised to revive the US torture programme. This time, Theresa May must ensure that the UK plays no role in it.

America’s use of torture - with UK complicity - marked a shameful chapter in our recent past. The US Senate admitted that torture under President Bush did not make us safer, but Donald Trump doesn’t believe it. He is a believer in torture and wants to revive waterboarding and ‘a hell of a lot worse’.

We want our government to say ‘Britain does not torture’ and mean it. We are calling on Theresa May to take three steps right now that will ensure an end to British complicity in torture.

  1. Make it clear to Donald Trump that Britain will have no part in a torture programme
  2. Immediately close the loopholes in Britain’s torture policy
  3. Apologise to victims of British complicity in torture

Theresa May – you must act now to put an end to UK torture.

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The UK torture policy loopholes

Britain’s torture policy, known as the ‘Consolidated Guidance’, is riddled with loopholes. It lacks effective independent oversight and relies on vague assurances from torturers. Here are three loopholes that must be closed immediately.

  • Agencies are not required to inform ministers when they know or expect Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment (CIDT) to take place. These techniques can include physical abuse, stress positions, sleep deprivation, sexual humiliation and withholding food, water or medical help.
  • Agencies are allowed to continue working with torturers if they believe they can ‘mitigate risk’ through ‘reliable assurances’.
  • There is no effective body to ensure compliance with the torture policy. In many cases, no government minister will ever be informed.

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