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What is torture prevention

The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment defines that:

“Torture” means any act by which severe pain or suffering, physical or moral, is intentionally inflicted on a person to obtain information or confession from him or a third person, punish him for an act that he or a third person has committed or committed it is suspected, as well as intimidated or coerced by him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is caused by a public official or other person acting in the office or by their incitement, or with their knowledge or acquiescence. This definition does not include pain or suffering that arise only as a result of legal sanctions, are inseparable from these sanctions or are caused by them accidentally.


Torture prevention is a strategic activity that aims to reduce the risk of torture and ill-treatment, and to promote intolerance of torture and degrading treatment in the society. Torture prevention builds on a a three-tiered approach, well described by the House of Prevention concept.


First, an effective legal framework must be in place that both prohibits and prevents torture and ill-treatment.


Secondly, these laws and regulations need to be applied in practice. Implementation is achieved through training (of the police and other actors), development of procedural safeguards (provision of quality defense (attorney-at-law), documenting detentions, etc.) as well as through sanctions in case of non-respect of the law. All these interventions would form the “walls of the house”.

Protective roof

Finally, control mechanisms should be in place in order to check both whether the legal framework exists and whether it is implemented. Regular visits to places of detention by independent bodies constitute one of these control mechanisms. In addition, the media as well as recommendations by international human rights bodies would also serve as control mechanisms. These would form a “protective roof”.



Report on torture