Regional human rights treaties and standards

There are a number of regional human right treaties and standards relevant to the prevention of torture and ill-treatment.


In Africa, torture is prohibited by Article 5 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (1981). In 2002, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights adopted guidelines on torture prohibition and prevention in Africa (Robben Island Guidelines).


Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (1950) prohibits torture and the European Court of Human Rights has developed important case law on this article. The Council of Europe also adopted a series of relevant standards, in particular the 2006 European Prison Rules. The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture can visit any place of detention in the 47 Member States of the Council of Europe and has developed a series of important standards for the protection of persons deprived of liberty.


In the Americas torture is prohibited by Article 5 of the American Convention on Human Rights (1969) as well as by a specific treaty, the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture (1985). The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has developed case law on torture and detention conditions. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has adopted guidelines and principles on the rights of persons deprived of liberty (2008). The Commission and its Office of the Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty in the Americas conduct visits to places of detention.

Arab States

In 2004, the League of Arab States adopted the Arab Charter on Human Rights. Article 8 provides for the prohibition and prevention of torture.