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UN shadow report: Prisoner testimonies of torture in U.S. prisons and jails

Prison fence lined with barbed wire and a watch tower
Photo: AFSC

In November 2014, the UN Committee Against Torture reviewed the United States’ compliance with provisions of the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment (“CAT”). The Committee consists of independent experts that monitor and evaluate States Parties’ implementation of the Convention on a regular basis. The U.S. has been legally bound by the terms of the Convention since its ratification in 1994. The last time the U.S. was reviewed by the Committee was in 2006.

The American Friends Service Committee submitted a “shadow report” to the Committee outlining inhumane conditions in prisons and jails that call into question U.S. implementation of its commitments under CAT. Survivors Speak is a collection of testimonies of prisoners subjected to cruel treatment or who have witnessed abuses committed against others while held in U.S. custody. Violations of human rights include inadequate health care and medical treatment, placement in solitary confinement, sexual and physical abuse, psychological abuse, and unsanitary housing.

AFSC is proud to serve on the US Human Rights Network Convention Against Torture Taskforce, through which we advocate before the UN, help civil society engage in the review process and ensure that CAT is implemented in local communities. 

Created Date 
Oct 21, 2014