Report No. 273
B. Convention against Torture (CAT)
2.5 The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) is an international human rights treaty, under the aegis of the United Nations that aims to prevent torture and other acts of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment around the world. "The Convention puts victims at the heart of its normative mechanism, partly by combating the impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators of such acts in authorising the arrest of alleged torturers on the sole ground of their presence in the territory under a State Party's jurisdiction and also by defining the widespread and systematic use of torture as a crime against humanity."
"The Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture established the Sub- Committee on the Prevention of Torture (SPT), whose task is to carry out inspection visits, in conjunction with national prevention agencies, to all places of detention in the State Parties to the Protocol. The Protocol requires State Parties to set up a visiting body or bodies for the prevention of torture and abuse (known as the national preventive mechanism) within one year after the coming into effect of the Convention for the State Party concerned."18 The right to freedom from torture includes the following rights and obligations:19
(1) the right of individuals to be protected by the State from torture by its agents;
(2) the State's duty to prosecute torturers; and,
(3) the right of individuals not to be returned or extradited to another State where they may have the risk of being tortured.