The absolute ban on torture and ill-treatment enshrined in core United Nations human rights conventions is reflected at EU level in the Charter of Fundamental Rights, which states that ‘No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’. The Charter also prohibits capital punishment.
One of the aims of the Union’s foreign policy is to promote respect for fundamental rights in non-member countries.
The Union’s actions based on its commitment to stopping torture and abolishing capital punishment include measures to prevent the trade in certain goods that could be used for capital punishment or torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
As part of its responsibility for foreign policy-related regulatory instruments, the FPI is the lead service for Council Regulation (EC) No 1236/2005 concerning trade in such goods. The current lists of prohibited and controlled goods are set out in Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 775/2014. A proposal for amendments to Council Regulation (EC) No 1236/2005 is currently under discussion in the European Parliament and the Council of the EU.
FPI prepares Commission delegated acts (on e.g. the lists of goods), working in close cooperation with other Commission departments and the EEAS.
Sodium thiopental and similar substances are used in lethal injections in several countries where the death penalty is still being applied.
In December 2011, the European Commission added these substances to the list of goods subject to export controls according to the anti-torture goods Regulation.