Prohibition against torture

No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, may be invoked as a justification of torture, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency. This principle is strongly underlined in the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, adopted by the United Nations in 1984 and entered into force in 1987. A committee of experts - Committee Against Torture, CAT - was established under the Convention and mandated to oversee and monitor the implementation by its State Parties. The Committee may also, under certain conditions, consider individual complaints.

In 1985, the Commission on Human Rights established a Special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to examine, monitor and report on torture worldwide. The special rapporteur reports regularly to the Human Rights Council.

The United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture was established in 1981 to provide humanitarian assistance to victims of torture and their families. The Fund receives voluntary contributions from governments, NGOs and individuals.

More on UN and prohibition against torture


Committee Against Torture

Ex. CAT/C/55/Add.7

Committee Against Torture. Country report, 55th session. Addendum 7

Human Rights, conventions and declaration

UN documents and publications in catalogues and databases

  • United Nations Digital Library offers UN documents and open access publications, UN voting data and speeches, UN maps, Content in 6+ languages. Replaces the traditional online catalogue UNBISnet.
  • UN iLibrary UN publications online covering different topics.
  • ODS full-text UN documents published from 1993 onward and scanned documents published between 1946 and 1993 in the official languages of the UN.
  • Daily list of documents (ODS). Documents published for the day, with full text links, can be found in the United Nations full text database ODS.
  • UNBIS Thesaurus a multilingual database of the controlled vocabulary used to describe UN documents.
  • Index to proceedings is an annual bibliographic guide to the proceedings and documentation of the major UN organs. The index includes:
    • a list of all documents
    • a comprehensive subject index
    • an index to speeches
    • a voting chart of resolutions
  • United Nations Documents Index (United Nations Digital Library) References to all documents by subject area are published. A collection of indexes is held by the Dag Hammarskjöld and Law Library, Uppsala, and the Libraries at UN Headquarters in New York and Geneva.
Last modified: 2024-04-08