Language Switcher

Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, A/HRC/13/39/Add.5, 5 February 2010

III. Cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment

B. Excessive use of force by law enforcement bodies

189. Upon my fact-finding missions I have received numerous worrying allegations of excessive use of force by police authorities outside of the context of detention. As stated above, this may amount to CIDT if it does not meet the test of proportionality.

193. Of particular concern are the reports of police brutality against vulnerable, disadvantaged groups and minorities. In Paraguay, I have received numerous allegations of excessive force by the police against members of indigenous communities and the military in dispersing demonstrations of campesino movements. The Committee  against Torture has equally expressed its concern about reports of police brutality against vulnerable groups such as racial minorities, migrants and persons of different sexual orientation, which have not been adequately  investigated.

D. Corporal punishment

2. Corporal punishment as a judicial sanction

216. Since assuming my mandate, I have sent several communications relating to  corporal punishment to a certain number of countries. In fact, a review of these communications reveals that only a very limited number of countries seem to sustain this cruel and inhuman form of judicial sanctions. Another fact that can be observed from assessing my communications is, on the one hand, the incredible cruelty of some of the reported punishments, such as amputations of the right hand and the left food or flogging with 5000 lashes. On the other, many of the offences sanctioned with corporal  punishment involved acts related to sexuality, such as “un-Islamic sexual activities”, “illicit relations”, or adultery.

E. Conditions of detention

231. Many detainees complained that they felt like they were treated worse than animals. Indeed, most human beings would not like their dogs or cats to be treated in the same way that   many   human   beings   are  treated   in   detention.  They   usually   belong  to  the  most disadvantaged, discriminated and vulnerable groups in society, such as the poor, minorities, drug addicts or aliens. Within detention facilities, there is usually a strict hierarchy, and those at the bottom of this hierarchy, such as  children, the  elderly, persons  with disabilities and diseases,   gays,   lesbians,   bisexuals   and   trans-gender   persons,   suffer   double   or   triple discrimination.

V. Conclusions and recommendations

257. Among detainees, certain groups are subject to double discrimination and vulnerability, including aliens and members of minorities, women, children, the elderly, the sick, persons with disabilities, drug addicts, gays, lesbians and transgender persons.

Link to full text of the report: