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What is the Convention Against Torture?

If you are currently living in Kentucky, but fled your country of origin because you were persecuted, you may not be aware of the United Nations Convention Against Torture. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has stated that the United States may not deport you to any country where you likely will be subjected to torture.

The Convention Against Torture is different from the laws of asylum and withholding of removal in the following ways:

  • The torture may be physical or mental; need not be based on your nationality, race, religion, political opinions or social group; and may be inflicted for a variety of reasons including to obtain a confession, to punish you for something you or someone else did or are suspected of doing, or to intimidate or coerce you or someone else.
  • Even if you have been convicted of aggravated felonies, the protection is available to you if you meet the standards.
  • The torture must be inflicted either by a public official or someone acting in an official capacity while you are or were in the custody and/or control of that person, or such a person must give or have given his or her consent to it.

United States Immigration and Naturalization Service regulations define torture and set forth the standards you must meet in order to be eligible for protection under the CAT. You must prove to an immigration judge by your testimony that it is more likely than not that you will be tortured if you are returned to your home country. The judge also will consider any evidence of the following:

  1. That you were tortured in the past
  2. That you could relocate to some other part of your country where you likely will not be tortured
  3. That your country commits flagrant, gross and/or mass human rights violations
  4. Any other relevant information about the conditions in your country

This information is provided for educational purposes, and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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