United Nations (UN) Day Support of Victims of Torture on 26th June 2017 was a day which reminds us that torture is never acceptable, legal, nor justifiable. Torture is banned worldwide:

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 5

In 1984 the UN Convention against Torture was adopted. Since then 162 parties have signed the Convention, and in doing so have undertaken to:

  • Take all necessary measures to prevent torture within their territory
  • Criminalise acts of torture and investigate when there are reasonable grounds to believe that one has taken place
  • Not use exceptional circumstances – e.g. war, political instability or other public emergency –to justify torture
  • Never send an individual to another State where there is reason to believe they might be tortured

The Convention 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.

Over the last five years, Amnesty International has reported torture in at least three quarters of the world – a total of 141 countries.

According to a survey conducted by Amnesty International in 2014, 82% people worldwide believe there should be international rules against torture.

If Prisoners Abroad receives an allegation of mistreatment from a prisoner that we are working with, we immediately alert the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, who will raise the matter with the relevant authorities.