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

Committee against Torture

16 May 2019

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.

Abdelwahab Hani, Rapporteur on follow-up to concluding observations under article 19 of the Convention, remarked that a State Party, Senegal, had submitted its report before the deadline and that, overall, the Committee found that State parties adhered to the procedure for the follow-up on recommendations.  Mr. Hani noted that the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnès Calamar, would present a report concerning Jamal Kashoggi at next session of the Human Rights Council in June and July 2019, while the Committee would send a reminder to Saudi Arabia and ask for a meeting during its 67th session.  The Committee would also request Cameroun to provide information on the reported arrests of political opponents, in the context of the crisis in the English speaking part of the country.  

The Rapporteur said that, while there had been some progress, the rate of participation of civil society organizations, national human rights institutions, and national prevention mechanism from certain countries remained low. The Committee had considered reports from seven States parties, for which it had adopted a total of 22 recommendations, regarding notably arbitrary detentions; national prevention mechanisms and national human rights institutions; police violence and the excessive use of force; conditions of detention and fundamental legal safeguards; as well as migrants and asylum-seekers.  Mr. Hani stated that the quality of information provided by State parties in that regard varied; while for some recommendations, the Committee was satisfied with the quality of information submitted and was able to gage a good degree of implementation, for others, the quality of information had been modest or mediocre and the implementation limited.  There had not been any situations where the State party had failed to provide any replies at all.  The trend seemed to be the provision of information that partly met the Committee’s expectations, noted Mr. Hani and remarked that unfortunately, the Committee did not find a case where one of its 22 recommendations had been implemented comprehensively. 

Claude Heller Roussant, Rapporteur on follow-up to individual communications, said that, during the session, the Committee had considered 11 communications under article 22 of the Convention.  There had been three cases concerning Denmark, two concerning Switzerland, two concerning Morocco, two concerning Argentina, one concerning Canada, and another one concerning Mexico.  One of the Danish cases had been resolved satisfactorily, as the claimant had been granted a residence permit.  The Committee would send communications in writing to permanent missions of concerned States in order to pursue dialogue in the cases in which the State’s responses had been partial, incomplete, or inexistent.  While the Committee remained open to constructive dialogue with States parties, it was mindful that this could not be prolonged indefinitely, and stood ready to contemplate taking measures to address State’s failure to meet deadlines.

The Rapporteur on follow-up to reprisals, Ana Racu, said that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights had organized a specialized workshop on reprisals in collaboration with a civil society organization in December 2018, which had brought together representatives of all treaty bodies to improve their cooperation in elaborating effective responses to reprisals.  The Committee’s guidelines had served as a starting point and a guiding instrument in that context.  

The Committee had examined two allegations of reprisals in Morocco, the Rapporteur added, and had requested the complainant’s release from detention in one of the cases.  As regards the other case, while the Committee had noted modest positive developments, the complainant was still in solitary confinement and had not access to his counsel.  Therefore, the follow-up dialogue would continue, and a meeting with the Permanent Mission of Morocco would be requested.  The Committee had also examined another allegation of reprisal and incommunicado detention from Burundi, and would request protective measures, including monitoring of the complainant’s conditions of detention.  

The Committee will next meet in public at 10 a.m. tomorrow, 17 May to publicly close its sixty-sixth session.

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.

Abdelwahab Hani, Rapporteur on follow-up to concluding observations under article 19 of the Convention, remarked that a State Party, Senegal, had submitted its report before the deadline and that, overall, the Committee found that State parties adhered to the procedure for the follow-up on recommendations.  Mr. Hani noted that the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnès Calamar, would present a report concerning Jamal Kashoggi at next session of the Human Rights Council in June and July 2019, while the Committee would send a reminder to Saudi Arabia and ask for a meeting during its 67th session.  The Committee would also request Cameroun to provide information on the reported arrests of political opponents, in the context of the crisis in the English speaking part of the country.  

The Rapporteur said that, while there had been some progress, the rate of participation of civil society organizations, national human rights institutions, and national prevention mechanism from certain countries remained low. The Committee had considered reports from seven States parties, for which it had adopted a total of 22 recommendations, regarding notably arbitrary detentions; national prevention mechanisms and national human rights institutions; police violence and the excessive use of force; conditions of detention and fundamental legal safeguards; as well as migrants and asylum-seekers.  Mr. Hani stated that the quality of information provided by State parties in that regard varied; while for some recommendations, the Committee was satisfied with the quality of information submitted and was able to gage a good degree of implementation, for others, the quality of information had been modest or mediocre and the implementation limited.  There had not been any situations where the State party had failed to provide any replies at all.  The trend seemed to be the provision of information that partly met the Committee’s expectations, noted Mr. Hani and remarked that unfortunately, the Committee did not find a case where one of its 22 recommendations had been implemented comprehensively. 

Claude Heller Roussant, Rapporteur on follow-up to individual communications, said that, during the session, the Committee had considered 11 communications under article 22 of the Convention.  There had been three cases concerning Denmark, two concerning Switzerland, two concerning Morocco, two concerning Argentina, one concerning Canada, and another one concerning Mexico.  One of the Danish cases had been resolved satisfactorily, as the claimant had been granted a residence permit.  The Committee would send communications in writing to permanent missions of concerned States in order to pursue dialogue in the cases in which the State’s responses had been partial, incomplete, or inexistent.  While the Committee remained open to constructive dialogue with States parties, it was mindful that this could not be prolonged indefinitely, and stood ready to contemplate taking measures to address State’s failure to meet deadlines.

The Rapporteur on follow-up to reprisals, Ana Racu, said that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights had organized a specialized workshop on reprisals in collaboration with a civil society organization in December 2018, which had brought together representatives of all treaty bodies to improve their cooperation in elaborating effective responses to reprisals.  The Committee’s guidelines had served as a starting point and a guiding instrument in that context.  

The Committee had examined two allegations of reprisals in Morocco, the Rapporteur added, and had requested the complainant’s release from detention in one of the cases.  As regards the other case, while the Committee had noted modest positive developments, the complainant was still in solitary confinement and had not access to his counsel.  Therefore, the follow-up dialogue would continue, and a meeting with the Permanent Mission of Morocco would be requested.  The Committee had also examined another allegation of reprisal and incommunicado detention from Burundi, and would request protective measures, including monitoring of the complainant’s conditions of detention.  

The Committee will next meet in public at 10 a.m. tomorrow, 17 May to publicly close its sixty-sixth session.

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