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Interim report of the Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (Solitary Confinement), 2011

United Nations UN Special Rapporteur on Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment International Human Rights Instruments and Resources Reports of UN Special Rapporteurs United Nations 5 August 2011 Report A/66/268 human rights

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In the present report, submitted pursuant to General Assembly resolution
65/205, the Special Rapporteur addresses issues of special concern and recent
developments in the context of his mandate.

The Special Rapporteur draws the attention of the General Assembly to his
assessment that solitary confinement is practised in a majority of States. He finds
that where the physical conditions and the prison regime of solitary confinement
cause severe mental and physical pain or suffering, when used as a punishment,
during pre-trial detention, indefinitely, prolonged, on juveniles or persons with
mental disabilities, it can amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or
punishment and even torture. In addition, the use of solitary confinement increases
the risk that acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or
punishment will go undetected and unchallenged.

The report highlights a number of general principles to help to guide States to
re-evaluate and minimize its use and, in certain cases, abolish the practice of solitary
confinement. The practice should be used only in very exceptional circumstances, as
a last resort, for as short a time as possible. He further emphasizes the need for
minimum procedural safeguards, internal and external, to ensure that all persons
deprived of their liberty are treated with humanity and respect for the inherent
dignity of the human person.


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