Inhuman or degrading treatment

Inhuman or degrading treatment is treatment of persons which is contrary to human rights or dignity, but does not rise to the level of torture. It is forbidden by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the United Nations Convention against Torture.[1][2][3]

Inhuman treatment

The Equality and Human Rights Commission defines inhuman treatment as:[4]

  • serious physical assault
  • psychological interrogation
  • cruel detention conditions or restraints
  • physical or psychological abuse in a healthcare setting
  • threatening to torture someone

Degrading treatment

The Equality and Human Rights Commission defines degrading treatment as undignified and humiliating treatment. Whether treatment is considered degrading is dependent on several factors, including the duration of the treatment; physical and mental effects on the victim; and the victim's age, race, sex, and vulnerabilities.


  • ASAD, TALAL (1996). "On Torture, or Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment". Social Research. 63 (4): 1081–1109. ISSN 0037-783X. JSTOR 40971325.
  • Başoğlu, Metin; Livanou, Maria; Crnobarić, Cvetana (1 March 2007). "Torture vs Other Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment: Is the Distinction Real or Apparent?". Archives of General Psychiatry. 64 (3): 277–85. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.64.3.277. ISSN 0003-990X. PMID 17339516.
  • Waldron, Jeremy (2010). "The Coxford Lecture Inhuman and Degrading Treatment: The Words Themselves". Canadian Journal of Law & Jurisprudence. 23 (2): 269–286. doi:10.1017/S0841820900004938.
  • Davis, Michael (2005). "The Moral Justifiability of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment". International Journal of Applied Philosophy. 19 (2): 161–178. doi:10.5840/ijap200519215.
  • Nowak, Manfred (2014). "Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment". In Clapham, Andrew; Gaeta, Paola (eds.). The Oxford Handbook of International Law in Armed Conflict. doi:10.1093/law/9780199559695.001.0001. ISBN 9780199559695.
  • Bojosi, Kealeboga N. (2004). "The death row phenomenon and the prohibition against torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment". African Human Rights Law Journal. 4 (2): 303–333.
  • Liebling, Alison (2011). "Moral performance, inhuman and degrading treatment and prison pain". Punishment & Society. 13 (5): 530–550. doi:10.1177/1462474511422159. S2CID 147386708.
  • Weissbrodt, David; Heilman, Cheryl (2011). "Defining Torture and Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment". Law and Inequality: A Journal of Theory and Practice. 29: 343.
  • de Frouville, O. (2011). "The Influence of the European Court of Human Rights' Case Law on International Criminal Law of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment". Journal of International Criminal Justice. 9 (3): 633–649. doi:10.1093/jicj/mqr020.


  1. "Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment" (PDF). 2007-11-05. Retrieved 2021-03-27.
  2. Nations, United. "Universal Declaration of Human Rights". United Nations. Retrieved 2021-03-27.
  3. "Republic of Ireland v. United Kingdom" (PDF). 1978-01-18. Retrieved 2021-03-27.
  4. "Article 3: Freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment | Equality and Human Rights Commission". Retrieved 2021-03-27.