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Humane Treatment of Persons Deprived of Their Liberty Policy Paper

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Sixteenth session (1982)
General comment No. 9: Article 10 (Humane treatment of persons
deprived of their liberty)
[General comment No. 9 has been replaced by general comment No. 21]
1. Article 10, paragraph 1 of the Covenant provides that all persons deprived of their liberty
shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.
However, by no means all the reports submitted by States parties have contained information on the
way in which this paragraph of the article is being implemented. The Committee is of the opinion
that it would be desirable for the reports of States parties to contain specific information on the
legal measures designed to protect that right. The Committee also considers that reports should
indicate the concrete measures being taken by the competent State organs to monitor the
mandatory implementation of national legislation concerning the humane treatment and respect for
the human dignity of all persons deprived of their liberty that paragraph 1 requires.
The Committee notes, in particular, that paragraph 1 of this article is generally applicable to
persons deprived of their liberty, whereas paragraph 2 deals with accused as distinct from convicted
persons, and paragraph 3 with convicted persons only. This structure quite often is not reflected in
the reports, which mainly have related to accused and convicted persons. The wording of paragraph
1, its context - especially its proximity to article 9, paragraph 1, which also deals with all deprivations
of liberty - and its purpose support a broad application of the principle expressed in that provision.
Moreover, the Committee recalls that this article supplements article 7 as regards the treatment of
all persons deprived of their liberty.
The humane treatment and the respect for the dignity of all persons deprived of their liberty
is a basic standard of universal application which cannot depend entirely on material resources.
While the Committee is aware that in other respects the modalities and conditions of detention may
vary with the available resources, they must always be applied without discrimination, as required
by article 2 (1).
Ultimate responsibility for the observance of this principle rests with the State as regards all
institutions where persons are lawfully held against their will, not only in prisons but also, for
example, hospitals, detention camps or correctional institutions.
2. Subparagraph 2 (a) of the article provides that, save in exceptional circumstances, accused
persons shall be segregated from convicted persons and shall receive separate treatment
appropriate to their status as unconvicted persons. Some reports have failed to pay proper attention
to this direct requirement of the Covenant and, as a result, to provide adequate information on the
way in which the treatment of accused persons differs from that of convicted persons. Such
information should be included in future reports.
Subparagraph 2 (b) of the article calls, inter alia, for accused juvenile persons to be
separated from adults. The information in reports shows that a number of States are not taking

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Sixteenth session (1982) General comment No. 9: Article 10 (Humane treatment of persons deprived of their liberty) [General comment No. 9 has been replaced by general comment No. 21] 1. Article 10, paragraph 1 of the Covenant provides that all persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person. However, by no means all the reports submitted by States parties have contained information on the way in which this paragraph of the article is being implemented. The Committee is of the opinion that it would be desirable for t ...
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