Torture and other forms of cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment as a punishment represent some of the most serious violations of human rights and are therefore unequivocally prohibited under international law.
Following a visit to Spain in 2003, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment concluded that despite the fact that "torture or other forms of ill-treatment are not systematic in Spain", in practice "the system allows for these to occur". Other international institutions for the protection of human rights have also voiced concern regarding this reality. Spain, for example, has been condemned by the European Court of Human Rights for violating its obligation to carry out a thorough and effective investigation of allegations pertaining to torture or ill-treatment. States are obliged not only to not commit acts of torture, but also, should they occur, carry out an investigation in line with international standards.