Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

last updated 24 April 2007

The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) entered into force in 1987 and prohibits torture. The Convention defines torture as "any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental is intentionally inflicted on a person . . . for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity." Women's rights advocates have argued that violence against women, such as domestic violence, contravenes the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment when the government fails to prevent such violence from taking place and does not prosecute or punish perpetrators of the violence. The Convention also creates the Committee Against Torture, a UN monitoring body that may receive individual communications and inter-state complaints, as well as initiate inquiries.

As of 19 April 2007, there are 144 States Parties to CAT.