The Asia Alliance Against Torture Report on Torture in ASEAN Countries 2021 – 2022

This report showcases the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on torture and other ill-treatment in the Southeast Asia region, particularly in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand. The report gathers data from A3T members in each country, analyzes the trends, and draws the recurring central theme.

In the first part, the report briefly explains the absolute prohibition of torture under various international standards. This part explains, inter alia, the prohibition of torture as a peremptory norm (jus cogens character of torture) and how, by virtue of such character, the prohibition of torture is considered to be holding greater supremacy over another body of law (lex superior) in which violation is owed to the international community as a whole (obligation erga omnes).

The second part illustrates the constitutive elements of torture in order to establish the report’s limitations. This part explores the meaning of torture under UNCAT and its interpretations according to various jurisprudence. This part establishes, among other things, the degree of severity and means of torture, the primary perpetrator, which numerous jurisprudences entail the mandatory involvement of a public official or someone acting in an official capacity, how torture can occur by commission and omission, and States’ accountability obligations.

The report’s third part exhibits past, pre-pandemic torture cases, and situations thereafter in the States in question. Finally, in the last part, the report compares the findings from each state and concludes that the impunity culture exacerbates torture practices during the Covid-19 pandemic.

click here to view the full document