• Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms Section 12 Everyone has the right not to be subjected to any cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.
  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), Article 5
  • “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment.”
  • Geneva Conventions (1949) Article 99, Third Convention
  • “no moral or physical coercion may be exerted on a prisoner of war in order to admit himself guilty of the act of which he is accused “
  • UN Minimum Standards for the Treatment of Prisoners (1957), Rule 31
  • “Corporal punishment, punishment by placing in a dark cell, and all cruel, inhumane or degrading punishments shall be completely prohibited…”
  • UN Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1975)
  • “No State may permit or tolerate torture…Exceptional circumstances such as a state of war …or any other public emergency may not be invoked as a justification of torture or other cruel inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment.”
Human Rights


  • Torture law is such that it is applicable even to nations that have not signed or ratified conventions- special status in international law
  • No. Article 2(2) of the Convention states that: “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.“
  • The prohibition on torture is also a ”peremptory norm,” which means that it cannot be overruled by any other law or by local custom.  For example, if local religious groups believe in torture as a natural punishment, still illegal.


  • Maher Arar was a dual Canadian-Syrian citizen who lived in Ottawa with his wife and kids
  • Detained at the Kennedy Airport in 2002 for questioning. Questioned for hours on alleged Al-Quada links, then ‘disappeared’
  • Revealed to have been deported to Syria by the American government where he was held in prison there for over a year, while being regularly interrogated and tortured for information (U.S. knew they used torture).
  • Released after eventual public outcry back to Canada, after no terrorist links were discovered
  • Canadians ordered commission of inquiry that ended with a 10 million dollar compensation paid to Arar and the resignation of the head of the RCMP
  • Current lawsuit pending against US government looking for compensation and an acknowledgment that they violated constitutional and human rights.

1 Comment

  1. Is it legal for a state sanctioned Psychiatrist to forcibly confine and subject a patient to interrogation for the purpose of extracting a confession ?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment