UNCAT Implementation Tool 4/2018

The absolute prohibition against refoulement set out
in Article 3(1) of the UN Convention against Torture
and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment
or Punishment (Convention, or UNCAT) – namely the
prohibition against the transfer of any person to a place
where they would face a real risk of torture or other
cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
(hereafter “torture or other ill-treatment”) – is a
fundamental feature of the global torture prevention
architecture. This tool includes some examples of the
range of legal and practical procedures and safeguards
that States have developed to give it effect.


The prohibition against refoulement is widely recognised
in constitutional texts and/or legislation. Some States’
constitutions enshrine the prohibition against refoulement
explicitly; in others, constitutional provisions, stipulating
that binding international treaties (e.g., UNCAT) prevail
over contrary domestic law, have given effect to the
prohibition against refoulement. The courts of some States
have also confirmed the latter.

Article 3, UNCAT
1.	No State Party shall expel, return
(“refouler”) or extradite a person to another
State where there are substantial grounds
for believing that he [or she] would be in
danger of being subjected to torture.
2.	For the purpose of determining whether
there are such grounds, the competent
authorities shall take into account all
relevant considerations including, where
applicable, the existence in the State
concerned of a consistent pattern of gross,
flagrant or mass violations of human rights.


It is insufficient merely to intervene
after the infliction of torture, when
the physical or moral integrity of
human beings has already been
irremediably harmed. States are
bound to put in place all those
measures that may pre‑empt the
perpetration of torture.”
Prosecutor v. Anto Furundzija,
No. IT‑95‑17/1‑T, Judgment of the
International Criminal Tribunal for
former Yugoslavia, 10 December 1998,
para. 148

The CTI ‘UNCAT Implementation Tools’ are a series of practical tools designed to share good practices among States on the
implementation of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT).
They offer thematic guidance and ideas for State practitioners and policymakers as they develop or revise context-specific strategies,
mechanisms and procedures to prevent torture and other forms of ill-treatment or punishment, and provide remedies for victims.


Select target paragraph3