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Torture equipment

123 countries had ratified this treaty by Mar 11 2001

Other Treaties:


The International Covenants

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Treaty in full

Committee Against Torture

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OCSE Preventing Torture Handbook


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Convention Against Torture


Although measures to prevent torture are covered in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, it was felt that further steps were needed to achieve the abolition of torture and ill treatment worldwide.

Check what your country has ratified

The UN General Assembly adopted a declaration in 1975 stating that:

any act of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment is an offence to human dignity and shall be condemned as a denial of the purposes of the Charter of the United Nations and as a violation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights "

Based on this declaration, work started on a convention that would more firmly establish the prohibition of torture and ill treatment in a treaty under international law and create a mechanism for implementation of the treaty's provisions.

The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1984)
defines torture as...

...any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed,

Or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.

It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions. "

(Article I)


The Committee was established to supervise the implementation of the convention. Within one year after ratifying the treaty, a state is required to submit a report on the measures taken to give effect to its obligations under the Convention.

States are encouraged under Article 19 to make a declaration recognising the rights of individuals to make a complaint to the Committee Against Torture, the monitoring body set up under the treaty. So far only 39 states have made such a declaration.

Others have applied reservations upon ratification, such as refusing to recognise the Committee or agree to arbitration at the International Court of Justice should a dispute arise between states.

Monitoring Torture

In 1985, the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the Question of Torture was created. This person investigates, monitors and publicly reports on incidences of torture. The position is currently held by Mr. Theo C. van Boven from the Netherlands.


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