Group of several dozen people standing behind a banner that reads "We demand a torture-free trade treaty: take torture out of protest."

The Shoreditch Declaration for a Torture-Free Trade Treaty

About the Shoreditch Declaration

In January 2023, more than 30 civil society groups came together in Shoreditch, London, and issued the Shoreditch Declaration for a Torture-Free Trade Treaty. The declaration, which remains open for civil society groups to join, calls for a treaty to prohibit the manufacture and trade in inherently abusive equipment (such as spiked batons and body-worn electric shock devices), as well as the introduction of human rights-based controls on the trade in more standard law enforcement equipment (such as pepper spray, rubber bullets and handcuffs). Organizations that join the declaration become part of the Torture-Free Trade Network.

About the Torture-Free Trade Network

The Torture-Free Trade Network includes NGOs from across the world working on torture prevention, combating police violence, or human rights more broadly. It was formed to campaign for tighter national, regional, and global regulations on the production and trade in law enforcement equipment. After a number of virtual meetings, most of the network met in person in London in January 2023. The network is open to any like-minded NGOs working on these themes. NGOs choose their level of involvement in the network. Organizations that join the network will be added to an email list where members share information and coordinate activities.

A central objective of the network is to advocate for the creation of a Torture-Free Trade Treaty at the United Nations, where a process is underway. For an overview of the UN process, see this useful story page produced by network member the Omega Research Foundation. A detailed view on the type of treaty the network would like to see can be found in the Essential Elements of a Torture-Free Trade Treaty, a briefing paper put together by Amnesty International, Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic, and the Omega Research Foundation.

The Shoreditch Declaration for a Torture-Free Trade Treaty

We, a group of over 30 civil society organisations from all regions, are coming together to support the creation of a robust Torture-free Trade Treaty. 

Through our work dedicated to the prevention of torture and other ill-treatment and ending police violence, we witness daily the devastating psychological and physical toll that such abuse has on people across the world. 

In many cases, the use of law enforcement equipment plays a fundamental role in these acts of cruelty, repression and punishment. 

Internationally-traded law enforcement equipment is routinely used abusively against protesters, human rights defenders and discriminated-against groups, among others, during the policing of protests and in places of detention. 

Some equipment, like body-worn electric shock devices, is cruel and degrading by design and must be banned outright; other equipment can be readily abused and its trade must be strictly regulated. 

A global, legally-binding prohibition and human rights-focused trade control regime on law enforcement equipment must be established to help prevent torture and other ill-treatment and combat police abuse. 

We support prohibitions on the manufacture and trade in inherently abusive equipment such as inhumane restraints and electric shock batons. We also support effective, human rights-based trade controls on standard law enforcement equipment – such as pepper spray, rubber bullets and handcuffs – which is often used to commit acts of torture or other ill-treatment. 

We call on all states to fulfil their positive obligations to prevent and eradicate torture and other ill-treatment across the world by supporting the creation of a Torture-free Trade Treaty. 

We will work together in different regions to raise awareness around this issue and build support for the strongest possible global treaty to put an end to the torture trade. 

January 2023 

Organizations that have joined the Shoreditch Declaration

List current to February 2024

African Centre for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (ACTV)

African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum (APCOF)

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

Amnesty International

Article 36

Asia Alliance Against Torture

Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT)

Campaign Against Arms Trade

Center for Legal and Social Studies (CELS)

Center for Victims of Torture (CVT)

Centre de Documentation et de Formation sur les Droits de l’Homme (CDFDH)

Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR)

Changement Social Bénin

Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos A.C.

Dejusticia – Center for the Study of Law, Justice and Society

FIACAT (International Federation of ACATs)

Freedom from Torture

Global Rights Advocacy

Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic

INCLO (International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations)

Institute of Race Relations

International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute

International Commission of Jurists

IRCT – International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims

Irdia – Centre for Human Rights

Irish Council for Civil Liberties

Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights

Justiça Global

JusticeMakers Bangladesh in France (JMBF)

Kenya Human Rights Commission


The Legal Resources Center – South Africa

Listening and Assistance Center

Mouvement pour la Défense de l’Humanité et l’Abolition de la Torture (MDHAT)

Observatorio Ciudadano, Chile

OMCT (World Organisation Against Torture)

Omega Research Foundation


The Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates

Physicians for Human Rights

The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI)


Regroupement des Mamans de Kamituga (REMAK).

Rescue Alternatives Liberia (RAL)

Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC)

Temblores NGO

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) – United Kingdom

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP)

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights