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What is Torture?

Under international law, the prohibition against torture is considered a right that is absolute in nature and does not tolerate exceptions. The prohibition is consecrated in the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1984.

Many international instruments have further elaborated the general prohibition according to different situations, people, and scenarios where torture is likely to happen

This guide primarily focuses on the class of ill-treatments that are called torture, although many of these guidelines would also apply to inhuman or degrading treatment and other forms of mistreatment. The question of whether a class of treatments qualifies as torture is often difficult to answer. In one court, a given class of treatments may constitute torture, while in another court, it may not. Ill-treatment may be considered torture or inhuman or degrading treatment, depending on the facts. ...More


  • LIBERIA has the world's highest percentage of pre-trial detainees and remand prisoners: 97.3 %[1]
  • HAITI has the world's most overcrowded prisons. They are currently filled at 335.7% their official capacity.[2]
  • RWANDA has the third highest prison population rate per 100,000: 593, exceeded only by the United States (748) and Russia (598)[3]