Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons
under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment
General Assembly Resolution 43/173 (9 December 1988)
All persons under any form of detention or imprisonment shall be treated in a
humane manner and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.
Any form of detention or imprisonment and all measures affecting the human
rights of a person under any form of detention or imprisonment shall be ordered by, or be
subject to the effective control of, a judicial or other authority.
1. These principles shall be applied to all persons within the territory of any given
State, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion or
religious belief, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, birth
or other status.
2. Measures applied under the law and designed solely to protect the rights and
special status of women, especially pregnant women and nursing mothers, children and
juveniles, aged, sick or handicapped persons shall not be deemed to be discriminatory.
The need for, and the application of, such measures shall always be subject to review by a
judicial or other authority.
No person under any form of detention or imprisonment shall be subjected to
torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.* No circumstance
whatever may be invoked as a justification for torture or other cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment or punishment.
2. Officials who have reason to believe that a violation of this Body of Principles
has occurred or is about to occur shall report the matter to their superior authorities and,
where necessary, to other appropriate authorities or organs vested with reviewing or
* [The following rather poignant note is contained in the original:] The term “cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment or punishment” should be interpreted so as to extend the widest possible protection
against abuses, whether physical or mental, including the holding of a detained or imprisoned person in
conditions which deprive him, temporarily or permanently, of the use of any of his natural senses, such as
sight or hearing, or of his awareness of place and the passing of time [italics added].