COPCAT Shorts – Canada Sponsors UN General Assembly Resolution on Torture-Free Trade

“Taking note of the launching of the Alliance for Torture-Free Trade,

1. Requests the Secretary-General, with the provisions of resolution 72/163 in mind, to seek the views of Member States on the feasibility and possible scope of a range of options to establish common international standards for the import, export and transfer of goods used for (a) capital punishment, (b) torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and to submit a report on the subject to the General Assembly at its seventy-fourth session;

2. Also requests the Secretary-General, on the basis of his report to be submitted to the General Assembly at its seventy-fourth session, to establish a group of governmental experts, to be chosen on the basis of equitable geographical distribution and guided by the need to appoint individuals reflecting the highest standards of efficiency, competence in the fields of human rights and/or international trade, and integrity, to examine, commencing in 2020, the feasibility, scope of the goods to be included and draft parameters for a range of options to establish common international standards on the matter and to transmit the report of the group of experts to the Assembly for consideration at its seventy-fifth session…

The United Nations ‘Knotted Gun’ by JasonParis (2011).

UN General Resolution ‘Towards torture-free trade: examining the feasibility, scope and parameters for possible common international standards’ (UN Doc. A/73/L.94), adopted by the UN General Assembly on 28 June 2019 (emphasis added above).


It was most encouraging that during this week’s UN General Assembly vote on the possibility of bringing into being an international standard on torture-free trade, Canada was one among 51 UN Member States to sponsor the draft UN Resolution on this pressing issue, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in New York on 28 June 2019. The adoption of this key UN Resolution paves the way for the creation of a group of experts to examine the feasibility and scope of such a possible future international standard on torture-free trade.

Canada’s sponsoring of the UN Resolution comes as a very welcome move, more so just two days after the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on 26 June. It can only be hoped that Canada will continue to put its political weight behind this long overdue initiative in the months and years ahead. And ratify the OPCAT of course…   


Read the UN General Resolution on torture-free trade.

Read the accompanying UN press release.

Learn more about the Alliance for Torture-Free Trade.

Read more about the Omega Research Foundation’s work on trade in the ‘tools of torture’.

Explore the key related publication Monitoring Weapons and Restraints in Places of Detention: A Practical Guide for Detention Monitors.