U.N. Convention Against Torture: Overview of U.S. Implementation Policy Concerning the Removal of Aliens [Updated April 4, 2006]   [open pdf - 98KB]

"The United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) requires signatory parties to take measures to end torture within their territorial jurisdictions. For purposes of the Convention, torture is defined as an extreme form of cruel and inhuman punishment committed under the color of law. The Convention allows for no circumstances or emergencies where torture could be permitted. Additionally, CAT Article 3 requires that no state party expel, return, or extradite a person to another country where there are substantial grounds to believe he would be subjected to torture. CAT Article 3 does not prohibit persons from being removed to countries where they would face cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment not rising to the level of torture. The United States ratified CAT subject to certain declarations, reservations, and understandings, including that the Convention was not self-executing, and therefore required domestic implementing legislation to take effect. In accordance with CAT Article 3, the United States enacted statutes and regulations to prohibit the transfer of aliens to countries where they would be tortured, including the Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998, section 2340A of the United States Criminal Code, and certain regulations implemented and enforced by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Department of State."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL32276
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