The Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic, together with its partners Amnesty International and the Omega Research Foundation, has released a position paper outlining the key elements to a proposed treaty regulating the trade in law enforcement equipment to prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment of punishment (“other ill-treatment”). The paper is also available in French, Spanish, and Arabic.

This paper sets out the key content and operational features of a prospective international instrument, a Torture-Free Trade Treaty, that is currently being discussed at the UN. Such an instrument would be aimed at prohibiting the manufacture and trade in inherently abusive law enforcement equipment and controlling the trade in equipment that can be used for torture and other forms of ill-treatment. The paper cites relevant existing standards in a discussion covering the potential treaty’s principles and goals, prohibitions and trade controls and monitoring and operational aspects.