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CVT Applauds New UN Study on Global Trade in Goods Used for Torture

Published March 14, 2023

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Center for Victims of Torture (CVT) applauds today’s announcement from Dr. Alice Jill Edwards, United Nations special rapporteur on torture, that she will initiate a new study on the international trade of goods used for torture.

According to Omega Research Foundation, approximately 500 companies from over 50 countries have manufactured or promoted equipment that has no practical purpose in law enforcement other than to commit torture or other forms of ill-treatment, such as electric shock belts, shock batons, thumb cuffs and spiked batons. Many states are free to buy that equipment or to allow its sale to other states.

“CVT applauds Dr. Edwards for taking on this study,” said Dr. Simon Adams, CVT president and CEO. “Today, many states and companies can trade tools of torture with impunity, and profit from such trade—a status quo that facilitates torture. We need a change, and we need it now.”

In January 2023, Dr Adams and CVT Washington Director Scott Roehm joined representatives of more than thirty other human rights organizations from around the world in London to discuss the need for a Torture-Free Trade Treaty. A core group consisting of Amnesty International, CVT, Omega Research Foundation and the Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic organized the summit.

The assembled group crafted the Shoreditch Declaration, which defines a shared vision and commitment to campaign for the United Nations to establish restrictions on the trade in goods used for torture.


The Center for Victims of Torture is a nonprofit organization with offices in Ethiopia, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Uganda, United States and additional project sites around the world. Visit www.cvt.org

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