Diplomatic assurances and re-writing the "Rules of the Game"
Contesting torture: Interdisciplinary perspectives
School of Arts and Humanities
Diplomatic assurances (DAs) are agreements between states that an individual will not be tortured if deported to a country where they face a risk of torture. Despite criticism that DAs do not work, states continue to use them in national security and immigration contexts as an attempt to balance state interests with their human rights obligations. This chapter argues that states strategically use international law to justify DAs, consequently weakening anti-torture protections and leaving deportees vulnerable to torture and ill-treatment. Focusing on the United Kingdom's efforts to legitimise DAs under international law, this chapter shows that states are not ignoring international law, but using it to better reflect their interests. Analysing how states are manipulating international law can shed new light on how international legal frameworks can both help to prevent torture and also be used to undermine the torture prohibition.