with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment
Torture in Healthcare Settings: Reflections on the Special Rapporteur on Torture’s 2013 Thematic Report

Torture in Healthcare Settings: Reflections on the Special Rapporteur on Torture’s 2013 Thematic Report 


Torture in Health Care Settings: Reflections on the Special Rapporteur on Torture’s 2013 Thematic Report, was published in February 2014.  The 322-page volume includes articles from more than 30 authors from around the world, focused on the theme of torture in health-care settings and reflecting on the SRT’s thematic report.  This is the first time that a book has been published focused specifically on a thematic report by a UN Special Procedure.

The volume features an introduction by the Special Rapporteur on Torture, as well as articles by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, the Chairman of the UN Committee against Torture, as well as renowned academics, legal, medical, and policy experts, and human rights advocates. The publication of the book has generated considerable interest among organizations, advocates, and practitioners working at the intersection of law, medicine, and policy.

The publication features a joint letter by the American Psychiatric Association and the World Medical Association in response to the Special Rapporteur’s report, and a reply to the letter by the Special Rapporteur, which can be accessed here!

The compilation explores some of the following topics:

  • Interpretative and guiding principles and the evolution and application of lack of legal capacity as a doorway for torture and other ill-treatment
  • Emerging recognition of different forms of abuses in health-care settings as torture and other ill-treatment, including compulsory detention for medical conditions;  Denial of pain relief
  • The treatment of persons with psycho-social disabilities or intellectual disabilities globally
  • Special protection of minority and marginalized groups and individuals as a critical component of the obligation to prevent torture and other ill-treatment;  
  • Reproductive rights violations as torture and ill treatment
  • The relationship and interplay between the Convention against Torture, the international prohibition against torture, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  • Recognition, enforcement and accountability for various abusive practices in health-care settings and the need to obtain redress and fair and adequate compensation, including the means for as full rehabilitation as possible.

To learn more about the Special Rapporteur’s thematic report on Torture in Healthcare Settings, please visit our page on the issue!




Latest news on Torture and Healthcare!

Torture: It Can Happen Anywhere

Torture: It Can Happen Anywhere

February 13, 2014 – In this new video from the Open Society Foundations, the Special Rapporteur explains that torture can happen anywhere, and is not only limited to the use of harsh interrogation techniques in custodial settings. The Special Rapporteur’s thematic report on torture in healthcare settings illustrates just one of the non-traditional contexts in which torture and ill-treatment can occur. The Special Rapporteur also observes that the use of torture in the context of counter-terrorism efforts only breeds more torture and more terrorism, is an ineffective way of obtaining information and evidence, and dangerously generates distrust in the police and institutions. The video is available on the Open Society Foundations website.

Endocrinologists Respond to UN Statement on Genital-Normalizing Surgery

Endocrinologists Respond to UN Statement on Genital-Normalizing Surgery

The group Advocates for Informed Choice (AIC) has published a letter from an international group of pediatric endocrine societies that responds to the Special Rapporteur’s statement calling for an end to genital-normalizing surgeries without the consent of the affected person. The Special rapporteur discussed this issue in his 2013 thematic report on torture and abusive practices in healthcare settings. According to AIC, “the letter thanks the United Nations for bringing attention to this issue, while offering no rationale for continuing the practice that the Special Rapporteur and human rights bodies in several regions have condemned.”