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At the European level

May 2005

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At the European Council level

- European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
Adopted by the Council of Europe in 1987, entry into force on February 1st 1989.

This established a European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment which visits places of detention (including prisons, police stations, army barracks, psychiatric hospitals) and is designed to prevent torture or ill-treatment.

The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) has shown that, while torture is extremely rare in Europe (with the exception of Turkey), ill-treatment and other human rights violations are nonetheless common.

- Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
Adopted on 11 November 1950 and amended by the Protocol n°11.

Article 3 - Prohibition of torture

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

At the European Union level

- Guidelines for European Union policy towards third countries on torture
Adopted on April 9th 2001.

Objective :
The purpose of these guidelines is to provide the EU with an operational tool to be used in contacts with third countries at all levels as well as in multilateral human rights fora in order to support and strengthen on-going efforts to prevent and eradicate torture and ill-treatment in all parts of the world.

The term "torture" is used in these guidelines in accordance with the definition provided in Article 1 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment. For the purpose of these guidelines ill-treatment means all forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, including corporal punishment, which deprives the individual of its physical and mental integrity.

While addressing specific concerns about torture and ill-treatment is the primary purpose, the guidelines will also contribute to reinforcing the EU’s human rights policy in general.

- Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union on the Implementation of the EU Guidelines on Efforts to Prevent and Eradicate Torture, 11 December 2002.

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