IRRC No. 324

The struggle against torture

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Over the past fifty years, the struggle against torture has become a central concern of human rights law. The first international legal text specifically outlawing “torture” was the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 5). The first treaty prohibiting torture — the European Convention on human rights (Article 3) — was adopted soon afterwards, in 1950. In 1984, the United Nations Convention against torture became the first binding international instrument exclusively dedicated to the struggle against one of the most serious and pervasive human rights violations of our time.

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