Home Torture prevention Laws and policies against torture Convention against Torture Other international treaties and standards

Other international treaties and standards

Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment is prohibited by a number of international human rights treaties. It is also prohibited by international humanitarian law (law of armed conflicts), international criminal law and international refugee law.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1950) is the founding document of the international human rights system. While it is not a treaty, it is considered to reflect customary international law and to be binding on all States. Article 5 states: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights also says that people have the right to "an effective remedy" if their rights are violated.

Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture

The Convention against Torture is complemented by an Optional Protocol (the OPCAT), which was adopted in 2002 and entered into force in 2006. The Optional Protocol does not establish new normative standards. Instead, it reinforces the specific obligations for prevention of torture in articles 2 and 16 of the Convention by establishing a system of regular visits to places of detention by an international body (the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture) and national bodies (known as National Preventive Mechanisms). More about the OPCAT.

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides that no person “shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”. In addition, article 10 states: “All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person”. No derogation is allowed regarding the right not to be subjected to torture and other forms of ill-treatment. The ICCPR also provides for legal and procedural safeguards related to the deprivation of liberty and fair trials (Articles 9, 10, 14, 15).

International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance

The CPPED is the most recent international human rights treaty (2010). It prohibits enforced disappearance which has been recognized as a form of torture. It requires State Parties to make enforced disappearance a crime, as well as  to implement several legal and procedural safeguards related to the deprivation of liberty. This is the first time many of these legal and procedural safeguards are explicitly included in a treaty text. Therefore, full implementation of the safeguards related to the deprivation of liberty in the CPPED will also help to prevent torture.

Other international human rights treaties

The following treaties all contain specific articles on the prohibition of torture:

 

 

United Nations Standards

The United Nations has a developed a number of standards that are relevant for the prevention of torture, including:

Standards dealing with the work of law enforcement officials:

Standards on the role of medical doctors in the prohibition and prevention of torture:

 

Related Content
Latest tweet