An Assessment of the United Kingdom’s Implementation of the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
Saffrey-Mayger, Richard George
Date: 10 February 2014
University of Exeter
PhD in Law
This thesis will assess the United Kingdom’s implementation of the United Nations Convention Against Torture and other Cruel Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment. It will first focus on a contextual analysis of the problem of torture, examining the circumstances in which it has historically been used, philosophical and theoretical ...
This thesis will assess the United Kingdom’s implementation of the United Nations Convention Against Torture and other Cruel Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment. It will first focus on a contextual analysis of the problem of torture, examining the circumstances in which it has historically been used, philosophical and theoretical perspectives on the practice and the political aspects of torture, including its effect on international relations. This will illustrate the circumstances in which torture is used, the motivation behind it and the way in which it affects its victims. The argument will then be made that, in view of the uniquely grave nature of the practice of torture, it is insufficient for States to merely criminalise it and punish the offenders. They must actively seek to eradicate it from society and ultimately prevent it from occurring. It is against this aim that the thesis will examine the compliance of the United Kingdom with its obligations under the Convention. This examination will look first at the international regime for the prevention of torture, focusing on the work of the United Nations Committee Against Torture. The engagement of the United Kingdom with this body will be explored in detail and the argument made that more needs to be done in order to ensure that the Committee’s recommendations are put into effect and that treatment contrary to the Convention is prevented from taking place. The final part of the thesis will assess the United Kingdom’s State practice with a focus on key institutions of the State including the courts and the legislature. This part of the thesis will seek to explore the extent to which the practices of these institutions is consistent with an overall aim of preventing torture and the extent to which they show awareness of the Convention and its requirements of the Convention in the discharge of their functions. The conclusion will be drawn that, while the Human Rights Act has gone some way towards improving compliance, more needs to be done to insure a complete implementation by the United Kingdom of its obligations under the Convention and full prevention of torture. The State must actively engage with the Committee and the organs of the State must consider the Convention Against Torture in the discharge of all of their functions to ensure that these aims are achieved.
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