Convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment orpunishment


The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment is an international human rights treaty. It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1984 and entered into force in 1987. The purpose of the convention is to prevent and eradicate torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.

The convention defines torture as the intentional infliction of severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, by a public official or a person acting in an official capacity for purposes such as obtaining information, punishment, intimidation, or discrimination. It also prohibits other forms of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment that do not necessarily meet the threshold of torture but are still considered unacceptable.

The key provisions of the convention include:

  1. Prohibition and criminalization of torture: States parties are required to take effective measures to prevent and prohibit torture within their jurisdictions. They must also ensure that acts of torture are criminal offenses under their domestic laws.
  2. Non-refoulement: The principle of non-refoulement prohibits the expulsion, return, or extradition of a person to a country where they may face torture or other ill-treatment.
  3. Prohibition of evidence obtained through torture: States parties are obligated to ensure that any evidence obtained through torture is not used in any proceedings, except against a person accused of torture as evidence that the statement was made.
  4. Obligation to investigate and prosecute: States parties are required to conduct prompt and impartial investigations into allegations of torture, and if there is sufficient evidence, to prosecute and punish those responsible.
  5. Protection of victims and redress: The convention emphasizes the rights of victims of torture to access appropriate redress, including compensation, rehabilitation, and medical and psychological assistance.
  6. Monitoring and reporting: The convention establishes a Committee against Torture, composed of independent experts, to monitor the implementation of the convention by the states parties. States are required to submit regular reports to the committee on the measures they have taken to implement the provisions of the convention.

The Convention against Torture is considered one of the core international human rights treaties and reflects the global consensus that torture and other forms of ill-treatment are absolutely prohibited under any circumstances.

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