The right to freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment is a fundamental human right recognized and protected under international law. It is enshrined in various international treaties and declarations to safeguard the dignity and physical integrity of individuals, regardless of their nationality, race, gender, or any other characteristic.
One of the primary international instruments that address this right is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. Article 5 of the UDHR states:
"No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."
In addition to the UDHR, the right to freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment is protected under other international treaties, including:
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR): Article 7 of the ICCPR also prohibits torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment and further elaborates on the scope of this right.
Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT): Adopted in 1984, this convention obliges states to take effective measures to prevent and combat torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.
European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR): Article 3 of the ECHR prohibits torture, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment within the territory of the member states of the Council of Europe.
African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights: Article 5 of this charter protects individuals from torture, cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment in African countries.
Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture: This convention establishes measures to prevent and punish torture in the Americas.
These international instruments not only prohibit torture and ill-treatment but also establish the obligation of states to prevent such acts, investigate and prosecute those responsible, and provide remedies and reparations to victims. The right to freedom from torture is considered an absolute right, meaning that there are no circumstances where torture or ill-treatment can be justified.
Despite these international protections, torture and ill-treatment still occur in various parts of the world. Efforts are continuously being made by international bodies, human rights organizations, and governments to eradicate such practices and ensure that all individuals are treated with dignity and respect for their human rights.