Torture in South Africa: Exploring Torture and Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment

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Little information exists on the practice of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment (CIDT) in postapartheid South Africa. However, despite the dearth of research and information, due to the history and widespread use of torture against political activists, it is not surprising that there is, in some quarters, a stated commitment to the eradication of torture. This is reflected in South Africa’s ratification in 1998 of the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT);1 the signing of other international instruments outlawing torture; and the inclusion of the prohibition of torture and CIDT in the Constitution. South Africa has also signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT).

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