Convention Against Torture

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Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 39/46 of 10 December 1984. Entered into force on June 26, 1987.

Relevant Provisions of the Convention Against Torture

Article 1 - Definition of Torture

The term “torture” means 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 2

Each state party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measure to prevent torture. No exceptional circumstances, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or other public emergency may be invoked as justification of torture. An order from a superior officer or public authority may not be invoked as justification of torture.

Article 3

No state party shall extradite a person to another state where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subject to torture. For the purpose of determining whether there are such grounds the competent authorities shall take into account all relevant considerations including, where applicable, the existence in the state concerned of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights.

Article 4

Each state party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under criminal law. The same shall apply to an attempt to commit torture and to an act by any person which constitutes complicity or participation in torture. Each state party shall make these offences punishable by appropriate penalties which take into account their grave nature.

Article 6

Any person in custody shall be assisted in communicating immediately with the nearest appropriate representative of the State of which he is a national.

Article 7

Persons alleged to have committed any offence referred to in article 4 are entitled to fair treatment at all stages of proceedings.

Article 10

Each State Party shall ensure that education and information regarding the prohibition against torture are fully included in the training of law enforcement personnel, civil or military, medical personnel, public officials and other persons who may be involved in the custody, interrogation or treatment of any individual subjected to any form of arrest, detention or imprisonment.

Article 13

Each State Party shall ensure that any individual who alleged he has been subjected to torture in any territory under its jurisdiction has the right to complain to, and to have his case promptly and impartially examined by, its competent authorities. Steps shall be taken to ensure that the complainant and witnesses are protected against all ill-treatment or intimidation as a consequence of his complaint or any given evidence.

Article 14

Each State Party shall ensure in its legal system that the victim of an act of torture obtains redress and has an enforceable right to fair and adequate compensation, including the means for as full rehabilitation as possible. If the victim is dead as a result of an act of torture, his dependants shall be entitled to compensation.

Article 15

Each State Party shall ensure that any statement which is established to have been made as a result of torture shall not be invoked as evidence in any proceedings, except against a person accused of torture as evidence that the statement was made.

Status of Signature, Ratification and Accession to the Convention Against Torture

Country Signature Ratification/Accession
Afghanistan 4 February 1985 1 April 1987
Albania - 11 May 1994
Algeria 26 November 1985 12 September 1989
Andorra 5 August 2002 22 September 2006
Antigua and Barbuda - 19 July 1993
Argentina 4 February 1985 24 September 1986
Armenia - 13 September 1993
Australia 10 December 1985 8 August 1989
Austria 14 March 1985 29 July 1987
Azerbaijan - 16 August 1996
Bahamas 16 December 2008 -
Bahrain - 6 March 1998
Bangladesh - 5 October 1998
Belarus 19 December 1985 13 March 1987
Belgium 4 February 1985 25 June 1999
Belize - 17 March 1986
Benin - 12 March 1992
Bolivia 4 February 1985 12 April 1999
Bosnia and Herzegovina - 1 September 1993
Botswana 8 September 2000 8 September 2000
Brazil 23 September 1985 28 September 1989
Bulgaria 10 June 1986 16 December 1986
Burkina Faso - 4 January 1999
Burundi - 18 February 1993
Cambodia - 15 October 1992
Cameroon - 19 December 1986
Canada 23 August 1985 24 June 1987
Cape Verde - 4 June 1992

( signatures)

See International Law