On December 10, 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), expanding upon the UN Charter’s affirmation of the “dignity and worth of the human person.” Article 5 of the UDHR states clearly, “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” Thirty-six years later, on December 10, 1984, the UN General Assembly adopted the text of the Convention Against Torture, an international treaty ratified by the U.S. in 1994 that makes participating in torture a crime.

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