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Committee against Torture considers reports on follow-up to concluding observations, individual communications, and reprisals

13 July 2021

The Committee against Torture this afternoon discussed follow-up to concluding observations, individual communications, and reprisals under the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Bakhtiyar Tuzmukhamedov, Ad Interim Rapporteur on follow-up to concluding observations under article 19 of the Convention, presenting his report, said that follow-up reports were received from Mauritania, Canada, Iraq, Mexico, Paraguay, Cameroon, Germany, Greece, the United Kingdom, Viet Nam, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Poland, Portugal, Belarus, Latvia, Cyprus, Uzbekistan, and South Africa. But several countries had not met the deadlines for submission of follow-up information : Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Congo, Djibouti, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Holy See, Indonesia, Madagascar, Mozambique, Niger, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Togo, Yemen and Zambia. National human rights institutions, human rights non-governmental organizations and civil society groups had also submitted 14 alternative follow-up reports.

Over the past year and a half, in consultation with other Committee members, the Rapporteur had communicated with 18 States parties to monitor whether all the issues identified by the Committee for follow-up had been addressed. He reported that substantive steps had been taken towards the implementation of 11 recommendations, and initial steps had been taken toward implementation of 13 other recommendations. However, 17 recommendations were not implemented, and regrettably, in several instances the Committee's recommendations were counteracted, that is, the State party adopted measures contrary to the recommendations of the Committee. The Committee had created a new, dedicated web page for the follow-up procedure. All relevant documents, including the recommendations identified for follow-up by the Committee, the information submitted by States parties, the correspondence with concerned States parties and the public reports submitted by national human rights institutions, NGOs and other stakeholders, are available on that web page. A compendium of the follow-up procedure as exercised since 2003 may also be found on that page.

The acting Chairperson of the Committee, Claude Heller, in his capacity as Rapporteur on follow-up to communications presented under article 22 (individual complaints procedure), said the Committee had considered eight communications and reached satisfactory conclusions in case 729/2016 on Sweden and in case 882/2018 on Switzerland. The Committee would continue dialogue on cases relating to the Russian Federation, Australia, Morocco, Spain, New Zealand, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Rapporteur on follow-up to reprisals, Ana Racu, said that no major incidents had been reported to the Committee since it had last met. It was possible that the COVID-19 pandemic was the reason, given it limited access to international protection mechanisms and lawyers, and given a lack of visits by national preventive mechanisms and similar mechanisms. Reviewing cases before the Committee, she referred to three cases which she described as sensitive concerning Morocco, with alleged reprisals consisting of, inter alia, death threats by prison guards and denial of medical care, interim measures not being respected, and a lack of implementation of the Committee's previous decisions. The Committee decided to pursue dialogue on these cases. Ms. Racu recalled that the majority of cases remain confidential pending a decision from the Committee.

All the documents relating to the Committee's work are available on the Committee's webpage. Documents for the present session are available on the session's webpage. The webcast of the Committee's public meetings can be accessed at http://webtv.un.org/.

The Committee will next meet in public at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, 15 July, to begin its online focused review of Belgium.

Link: https://www.ungeneva.org/en/news-media/meeting-summary/2021/07/committee-against-torture-considers-reports-follow-concluding

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For use of the information media; not an official record