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therefore the measures required to prevent torture must be applied to prevent ill-treatment.
Accordingly, the Committee has considered the prohibition of ill-treatment to be likewise nonderogable under the Convention and its prevention to be an effective and non-derogable measure.
4.
States parties are obligated to eliminate any legal or other obstacles that impede the
eradication of torture and ill-treatment; and to take positive effective measures to ensure that such
conduct and any recurrences thereof are effectively prevented. States parties also have the obligation
continually to keep under review and improve their national laws and performance under the
Convention in accordance with the Committee’s concluding observations and views adopted on
individual communications. If the measures adopted by the State party fail to accomplish the
purpose of eradicating acts of torture, the Convention requires that they be revised and/or that new,
more effective measures be adopted. Likewise, the Committee’s understanding of and
recommendations in respect of effective measures are in a process of continual evolution, as,
unfortunately, are the methods of torture and ill-treatment.
II.

Absolute prohibition

5.
Article 2, paragraph 2, provides that the prohibition against torture is absolute and nonderogable. It emphasizes that no exceptional circumstances whatsoever may be invoked by a State
Party to justify acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction. The Convention identifies as
among such circumstances a state of war or threat thereof, internal political instability or any other
public emergency. This includes any threat of terrorist acts or violent crime as well as armed
conflict, international or non-international. The Committee is deeply concerned at and rejects
absolutely any efforts by States to justify torture and ill-treatment as a means to protect public safety
or avert emergencies in these and all other situations. Similarly, it rejects any religious or traditional
justification that would violate this absolute prohibition. The Committee considers that amnesties or
other impediments which preclude or indicate unwillingness to provide prompt and fair prosecution
and punishment of perpetrators of torture or ill-treatment violate the principle of non-derogability.
6.
The Committee reminds all States parties to the Convention of the non-derogable nature of
the obligations undertaken by them in ratifying the Convention. In the aftermath of the attacks of 11
September 2001, the Committee specified that the obligations in articles 2 (whereby “no
exceptional circumstances whatsoever…may be invoked as a justification of torture”), 15
(prohibiting confessions extorted by torture being admitted in evidence, except against the torturer),
and 16 (prohibiting cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment) are three such provisions
that “must be observed in all circumstances”1. The Committee considers that articles 3 to 15 are
likewise obligatory as applied to both torture and ill-treatment. The Committee recognizes that
States parties may choose the measures through which they fulfill these obligations, so long as they
are effective and consistent with the object and purpose of the Convention.
7.
The Committee also understands that the concept of “any territory under its jurisdiction,”
linked as it is with the principle of non-derogability, 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
1

On 22 November 2001, the Committee adopted a statement in connection with the events of 11 September
which was sent to each State party to the Convention (A/57/44, paras. 17-18).

Select target paragraph3