The Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT): A major step forward in the global prevention of torture Frank Ledwidge 1 The genesis of OPCAT In the field of anti-torture activity, there has been in the past a certain tendency to adopt the attitude that if we declare something to be wrong, it will somehow go away. Much ink is spilt on declarations which are variations on the theme of ‘There is an absolute prohibition on torture’ or ‘torture is always wrong’. These are valuable statements but without enforcement or workable practical measures they achieve little. The United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (hereafter UN Torture Convention) 2 , which articulates the international prohibition on torture 3 has been 1 Frank Ledwidge is a Rule of Law Advisor for the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights; he is also the ODHIR Anti-Torture Focal Point. The views in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of either the OSCE or the ODIHR . The author is indebted to Matthew Pringle of the Association for the Prevention of Torture and Kerstin Buchinger of
Helsinki Monitor (in 2008 continued as Security and Human Rights) – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2006
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