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© 2006 Prohibition of Torture Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Austria
© 2006 “ No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.” Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Prohibition of Torture
© 2006 Prohibition of Torture ►Torture and ill-treatment is a direct threat to the security of any person or group ►The prohibition of torture is absolute ►It is a non-derogable right according to Art. 4 of the ICCPR ►Torture can never be justified under any circumstance ►Defined by Article 1 of the UN Convention against Torture (UN-CAT), adopted 1984, entry into force 1987 Prohibition of Torture
© 2006 Distinctive Elements of Torture ►An intentional act that causes severe physical or mental suffering ►An act that is inflicted on purpose ►By a state official or person acting in an official capacity => These elements featured in Art. 1 UNCAT do consider physical and psychological dimensions of torture, but are not all-inclusive! Prohibition of Torture
© 2006 Methods of Torture ►Physical torture: causes severe pain and excessive suffering, leads to mutilation, disfigurement or lasting injury as well as death ►Psychological torture: include deprivation and exhaustion techniques, solitary confinement, coercion and intimidation techniques. => All methods represent a grave assault on the dignity of the human being and a violation of her/his human rights Prohibition of Torture
© 2006 Motives for Torture ►To retain and exercise power over opponents or people embarking on progressive ideas ►To exercise political repression and oppression ►To exercise punishment ►To carry out revenge ►To silence opposition ►To obtain information and get a confession ►…. Many more. Prohibition of Torture
© 2006 Implementation and Monitoring ►Implementation and Monitoring need.. –An effective legal framework –Functioning control mechanisms –Ongoing training for those concerned ►UN Committee against Torture: international monitoring body based on Art 17 UNCAT ►UN Special Rapporteur on Torture ►Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture: best example for a regional monitoring body Prohibition of Torture
© 2006 Monitoring Committee for the Prevention of Torture ►Based on the Council of Europe Convention for the Prevention of Torture and inhuman or degrading treatment ►started its work in 1989 ►Multidisciplinary teams: doctors, lawyers, experts ►Conducts periodic visits to all Council of Europe member states as well as ad-hoc visits ►Examines detention facilities, police stations, psychiatric wards ►Reports remain confidential unless states do not cooperate (Turkey report published in 1992 and 1996) Prohibition of Torture
© 2006 Monitoring: UN Committee against Torture ►Established by Art 17 of the UN Convention against Torture ►Began its work in 1988 ►Receives and considers state parties ►May consider, upon permission of the state concerned, individual or inter-state complaints ►Optional Protocol to the UNCAT of 2002 established a universal and regular visiting system of detention facilities based on the model of the Council of Europe’s CPT Prohibition of Torture
© 2006 Monitoring: UN Special Rapporteur on Torture ►Established by Resolution 1965/33 ►Universal approach ►Transmits communications of urgent appeals and allegation letters to governments ►Undertakes fact-finding missions to countries which are alleged to conduct torture ►Submits annual reports on his work Prohibition of Torture
© 2006 Good Practices ►Prevention of Torture and inhuman or degrading treatment can be… –Grass-root, action-driven: campaigning, awareness raising, educational activities at the local level –Institution and capacity building, influencing structures and institutions already set up, reforming them or building up new structures ►An active civil society provides for protection: e.g. Amnesty International and its campaigns and letters seek to protect prisoners of conscience Prohibition of Torture
© 2006 Chronology 1948Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1949The Four Geneva Conventions 1957UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners 1966International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1979UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials 1982Principles of Medical Ethics Relevant to the Role of Health Personnel, Particularly Physicians, in the Protection of Prisoners and Detainees against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment Prohibition of Torture
© UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment 1987The European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment entry into force 1989CoE-Committee for the Prevention of Torture established 1990 UN Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty 1998 Statute of the International Criminal Court 2002Optional Protocol to the UN CAT establishing a universal visiting scheme Prohibition of Torture
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