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II. General principles
5.
Article 3, paragraph 1, of the Convention provides that “No State party shall expel,
return (refouler) or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for
believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.”1
6.
Pursuant to Article 22 of the Convention, the Committee receives and considers
communications from or on behalf of individuals subject to a State party’s jurisdiction who
claim to be victims of a violation by a State party of the provisions of the Convention in
respect of any State party that has declared that it recognizes the Committee’s competence in
this regard.
7.
Most of the communications received by the Committee refer to alleged violations by
States parties of Article 3 of the Convention. This General Comment provides guidance to
the States parties, the complainants and their representatives on the scope of Article 3 and on
how the Committee assesses the admissibility and the merits of the individual
communications submitted to the Committee for its consideration.
8.
The Committee recalls that the prohibition of torture, as defined in Article 1 of the
Convention, is absolute. Article 2, paragraph 2, of the Convention provides that “No
exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal
political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of
torture”. The Committee further recalls that other acts of ill-treatment are equally prohibited,
and that the prohibition of ill-treatment is likewise non-derogable.2
9.
The principle of “non-refoulement” of persons to another State where there are
substantial grounds for believing that they would be in danger of being subjected to torture
is similarly absolute.3
10.
Each State party must apply the principle of non-refoulement in any territory under
its jurisdiction or any area under its control or authority, or on board a ship or aircraft
registered in the State party, to any person, including persons requesting or in need of
international protection, without any form of discrimination and regardless of the nationality
or statelessness or the legal, administrative or judicial status of the person concerned under
ordinary or emergency law. As the Committee noted in its General Comment No. 2, “the
concept of ‘any territory under its jurisdiction’… includes any territory or facilities and must
be applied to protect any person, citizen or non-citizen without discrimination subject to the
de jure or de facto control of the State party” [para. 7].4
11.
The non-refoulement obligation in article 3 of the Convention exists whenever there
are “substantial grounds”5 for believing that the person concerned would be in danger of

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Article 3 must be interpreted by reference to the definition of torture set out in article 1 of the
Convention - see e.g. communication No. 83/1997, G.R.B. v. Sweden, Views adopted on 15 May 1998,
para. 6.5.
See General Comment No. 2 (2008): Implementation of article 2 by States parties (CAT/C/GC/2),
paras. 3, 6, 19 and 25.
See communications No. 39/1996, Tapia Paez v. Sweden, Views adopted on 28 April 1997, para.
14.5; No. 110/1998, Núñez Chipana v. Venezuela, Views adopted on 10 November 1998, para. 5.6,
No. 233/2003, Agiza v. Sweden, decision adopted on 20 May 2005, para. 13.8; No. 297/2006, Singh
Sogi v. Canada, decision adopted on 16 November 2007, para. 10.2; No. 444/2010, Abdussamatov et
al. v. Kazakhstan, decision adopted on 1 June 2012, para. 13.7; and No. 475/2011, Nasirov v.
Kazakhstan, decision adopted on 14 May 2014, para. 11.6.
See General Comment No. 2 (2008): Implementation of article 2 by States parties (CAT/C/GC/2),
paras. 7 and 16.
See e.g. Tapia Paez v. Sweden, para 14.5, supra fn. 3.

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