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12-Point Program for the Prevention of Torture

Amnesty International calls on all governments to implement the organization's 12-Point Program for the Prevention of Torture. It invites concerned individuals and organizations to join in promoting the program. Amnesty International believes that the implementation of these measures is a positive indication of a government's commitment to abolish torture and to work for its abolition worldwide.

1. Official condemnation of torture

The highest authorities of every country should demonstrate their total opposition to torture. They should make clear to all law enforcement personnel that torture will not be tolerated under any circumstances.


2. Limits on incommunicado detention

Torture often takes place while the victims are held incommunicado - unable to contact people outside who could help them or find out what is happening to them. Governments should adopt safeguards to ensure that incommunicado detention does not become an opportunity for torture. It is vital that all prisoners be brought befor a judicial authority promptly after being taken into custody and that relatives, lawyers and doctors have prompt and regular access to them.

3. No secret detention

In some countries torture takes place in secret centres, often after the victims are made to "disappear". Governments should ensure that prisoners are held in publicly recognized places, and that accurate information about their whereabouts is made available to relatives and lawyers.

4. Safeguards during interrogation and custody

Governments should keep procedures for detention and interrogation under regular review. All prisoners should be promptly told of their rights, including the right to lodge complaints about their treatment. There should be regular independent visits of inspection to places of detention. An important safeguard against torture would be the seperation of authorities responsible for detention from those in charge of interrogation.

5. Independent investigation of reports of torture

Governments should ensure that all complaints and reports of torture are impartially and effectively investigated . The methods and findings of such investigations should be made public. Complainants and witnesses should be protected from intimidation.

6. No use of statements extracted under torture

Governments should ensure that confessions or other evidence obtained under torture may never be invoked in legal proceedings.

7. Prohibition of torture in law

Governments should ensure that acts of torture are punishable offences under the criminal law. In accordance with international law, the prohibition of torture must not be suspended under any circumstances, including states of war or other public emergency.

8. Prosecution of alleged torturers

Those responsible for torture should be brought to justice. The principle should apply wherever they happen to be, wherever the crime was committed and whatever the nationality of the perpetrators or victims. There should be no "safe haven" for torturers.

9. Training procedures

It should be made clear during the training of all officials involved in the custody, interrogation or treatment of prisoners that torture is a criminal act. They should be instructed that they are obliged to disobey any order to torture.

10. Compensation and rehabilitation

Victims of torture and their dependants should be entitled to obtain financial compensation. Victims should be provided with appropriate medical care and rehabilitation.

11. International response

Governments should use all available channels to intercede with governments accused of torture. Intergovernmental mechanisms should be established and used to investigate reports of torture urgently and to take effective action against it. Governments should ensure that military, security or police transfers or training do not facilitate the practice of torture.

12. Ratification of international instruments

All governments should ratify international instruments containing safeguards and remedies against torture, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights and its Optional Protocol which provides for individual complaints.

      

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