Fragility, States and Torture

Toby Kelly, Steffen Bo Jensen, Morten Koch Andersen

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


The prohibition of torture is usually couched in absolute and universal terms. But how do these terms play out in contexts where the state has either limited or disparate reach? This chapter uses the concept of ‘state fragility’ to provide a critical reflection on some of the key issues associated with the prevention of torture. Many of the challenges of eradicating torture in ‘fragile’ states can also be found in states with apparently greater respect for the rule of law and well established forms of institutional stability, but looking at these issues through the lens of state fragility can open up new perspectives. In particular, it can help us pay attention to the role of informal processes and inequality and help push back against any assumption that the eradication of torture is straightforwardly linked to the growth of democracy and the rule of law.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Handbook on Torture : Legal and Medical Perspectives on Prohibition and Prevention
Number of pages17
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Publication date2020
ISBN (Print)9781788113953
ISBN (Electronic)9781788113960
Publication statusPublished - 2020
SeriesResearch Handbooks in Human Rights


  • state violence


Dive into the research topics of 'Fragility, States and Torture'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this