Amnesty International’s 12-Point Programme for the
Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or
Degrading Treatment or Punishment by Agents of the
State
Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (other ill-treatment)
are violations of human rights, condemned by the international community as an offence to
human dignity and prohibited in all circumstances under international law. Yet they happen
daily and across the globe. Immediate steps are needed to confront these abuses wherever they
occur and to eradicate them. Amnesty International calls on all governments to implement the
following 12-point programme and invites concerned individuals and organizations to ensure
that they do so. Amnesty International believes that the implementation of these measures is a
positive indication of a government’s commitment to end torture and other ill-treatment and to
work for their eradication worldwide.

1. Condemn torture and other ill-treatment
The highest authorities of every country should demonstrate their total opposition to torture
and other ill-treatment. They should condemn these practices unreservedly whenever they
occur. They should make clear to all members of the police, military and other security forces
that torture and other ill-treatment will never be tolerated.

2. Ensure access to prisoners
Torture and other ill-treatment often take place while prisoners are held incommunicado –
unable to contact people outside who could help them or find out what is happening to them.
The practice of incommunicado detention should be ended. Governments should ensure that all
prisoners are brought before an independent judicial authority without delay after being taken
into custody. Prisoners should have access to relatives, lawyers and doctors without delay and
regularly thereafter.

3. No secret detention
In some countries torture and other ill-treatment take place in secret locations, often after the
victims are made to “disappear”. Governments should ensure that prisoners are held only in
officially recognized places of detention and that accurate information about their arrest and
whereabouts is made available immediately to relatives, lawyers, the courts, and others with a
legitimate interest, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Effective
judicial remedies should be available at all times to enable relatives and lawyers to find out
immediately where a prisoner is held and under what authority, and to ensure the prisoner’s
safety.

AI Index: ACT 40/001/2005

Amnesty International 22 April 2005

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