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This report documents evidence and testimonies of human rights violations recorded during and after Amnesty International’s visit to Vanuatu in 1998. The report also contains recommendations to the government of Vanuatu to improve prison conditions prison as well as police complaints mechanisms and to seek assistance of the international community.

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This 80-page report documents 28 cases of police abuse against members of the public since the start of 2007, and examines official investigations of police conduct in those instances. The cases include fatal and non-fatal shootings by the police; ill-treatment and excessive use of force by police against demonstrators; and ill-treatment during or following identity checks. Those who file complaints against the police often find themselves put on trial for having “forcibly resisted” the police.

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In light of the moral imperative inherent in the absolute prohibition of torture, politicians and their lawyers have repeatedly attempted to limit the definition of torture so as to exclude certain interrogation techniques from its scope. The inclusion of a comprehensive legal definition of torture in article 1 of the UN Convention Against Torture is therefore of great significance.

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