EU, Argentina and Mongolia launch global Alliance for Torture-Free Trade

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The APT welcomes the launch, on 18 September, of a global initiative to end the trade of goods used to carry out torture and the death penalty. Launched by the European Union, Argentina and Mongolia, the Alliance now counts 58 countries – most of them parties to the OPCAT – that are determined to take effective measures to restrict trade in goods intended to be used for torture and other forms of ill-treatment, including through legislation, efficient enforcement and strengthened cooperation.

“We welcome this very important step,” states Mark Thomson, APT’s General Secretary. “Not only because torture destroys the physical and moral integrity of the victims themselves and of society as a whole, but also because it is ineffective and counterproductive.”

In their political declaration, States condemn the use, as well as the production, trade, export and import of goods that have no practical use other than for the purpose of capital punishment, torture and other forms of ill-treatment. Acknowledging that the availability of such goods enables such practices, they resolve to “acting together to further prevent, restrict and end trade in [such goods],” “commit to strengthen cooperation in this area,” and “undertake to make available technical assistance for the design and implementation of relevant legislation.”

The Alliance for Torture-Free Trade is a global effort by countries from all over the world to stop the trade in goods used for torture and the death penalty. While international law prohibits torture under all circumstances, such tools are still traded across the globe, including thumbscrews, ankle-shattering leg irons, batons with metal spikes, electro-shock belts or handcuffs and many more. Officially announced in Brussels on 7 September, the Alliance was formally launched during the UN General Assembly week in New York.