Argument: Waterboarding qualifies as torture

Issue Report: Waterboarding


General statements that waterboarding constitutes torture. UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband said in 2008: “water-boarding amounts to torture.”[1]

The UK House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee wrote in the The Human Rights Annual Report 2007: “We conclude that the Foreign Secretary’s view that water-boarding is an instrument of torture is to be welcomed. However, given the recent practice of water-boarding by the US, there are serious implications arising from the Foreign Secretary’s stated position. We conclude that, given the clear differences in definition, the UK can no longer rely on US assurances that it does not use torture, and we recommend that the Government does not rely on such assurances in the future. We also recommend that the Government should immediately carry out an exhaustive analysis of current US interrogation techniques on the basis of such information as is publicly available or which can be supplied by the US. We further recommend that, once its analysis is completed, the Government should inform this Committee and Parliament as to its view on whether there are any other interrogation techniques that may be approved for use by the US Administration which it considers to constitute torture.”[2]