Definitions we use

The main objective of OPCAT (the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture) is to prevent torture and ill treatment and:

Establish a system of regular visits to places of detention in order to prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Provide constructive recommendations aimed at improving the conditions and treatment of detained persons.

Mitigate risks of ill treatment and build an environment where torture is unlikely to occur.

We have adopted the following definitions of torture, cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment in accordance with international human rights practice relating to mokopuna in places of detention



Severe physical or mental pain or suffering, intentionally inflicted to obtain a confession, punish a child or young person for something they or someone else committed or is suspected of committing, or intimidating or coercing a child or young person for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.

Cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment

Any treatment which offends a child or young person’s dignity may be considered cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, regardless of whether it causes pain or suffering.

Cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment

Any punishment intended to cause pain or discomfort. This includes non-physical punishment that belittles, humiliates, denigrates, scapegoats, threatens, scares or ridicules a child or young person