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Allegation letters

Allegations of torture received by the Special Rapporteur which do not require immediate action are sent to Governments in the form of "allegation letters".

The Special Rapporteur requests the Government to clarify the substance of the allegations and to forward information on the status of any investigation (i.e. the findings of any medical examination, the identity of the persons responsible for the torture, the disciplinary and criminal sanctions imposed on them, and the nature and amount of compensation paid to the victims or their families).

Allegation letters may be sent in relation to systematic patterns of torture:

  • specific group of victims or perpetrators;
  • the use of particular methods of torture, and
  • detention conditions amounting to ill-treatment.

Legislation that has an impact on the occurrence of torture may also be the subject of an allegation letter:

  • criminal sentencing provisions (e.g. permitting corporal punishment);
  • criminal procedure legislation (e.g. regarding periods of incommunicado detention, interrogation, etc.), and
  • legal provisions granting amnesty, and other measures providing for de facto or de jure impunity in violation of the prohibition of torture.

Model questionnaire

Urgent appeals' address:

Special Rapporteur on Torture
c/o Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Office at Geneva
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland

E-mail: urgent-action@ohchr.org