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Committee against Torture adopts concluding observations on report of belgium and closes seventy-first online session

30 July 2021

The Committee against Torture this afternoon adopted its concluding observations on the fourth periodic report of Belgium and closed its seventy-first online session.

Acting Committee Chairperson Claude Heller said that the Committee had considered the report of Belgium during the session and adopted its concluding observations.  He thanked the Belgian authorities for their willingness to engage in a constructive dialogue under the set format for the pandemic.  The Committee wished to reiterate its position that the online review of Belgium was of an exceptional nature and did not create a precedent for future reviews of States parties which should be conducted in person in Geneva.

The Committee had continued its work related to the follow-up of reports under article 19, individual cases under article 22, considerations under article 20 and cases of reprisals.  The Committee had adopted the report of the Working Group on individual communications and ruled on 37 cases: 22 decisions on the merits of the complaints submitted (identifying 6 cases of violation and 16 of non-violation of the Convention); 2 cases of inadmissibility and 13 cases that were discontinued.  With regard to article 22, the Committee had considered 8 cases, 2 of which were closed because a solution had been reached (729/2016 and 882/2018 on Sweden and Switzerland respectively).  For the remaining 6, the Committee would continue to communicate with the respective States.

As Acting Chairperson of the Committee, Mr. Heller said that he had briefed the Committee on developments at the meeting of the Chairpersons of treaty bodies held last June.  The difficult situation and the challenges the Committee faced in meeting would not have escaped the attention of his colleagues.  The political and financial support of States was essential for the functioning of treaty bodies that could not be required to do more with less.  He said they were talking about the very existence of the treaty body system.  He reiterated the Committee’s willingness to meet in Geneva in the hope that conditions would permit.  The Committee depended on the strong support of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Government of Switzerland, which in addition to its responsibility as a host country, was deeply committed to human rights and its institutional functioning.

Mr. Heller said that at its seventy-second session to be held in Geneva in November/December this year, the Committee would review the reports of Bolivia, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Nigeria, Serbia and Sweden, with the respective rapporteurs appointed.  The Committee would also adopt the lists of issues prior to reporting of the following States: Canada, Guatemala, Netherlands, Peru and Saudi Arabia.  In addition, the Committee would address internal proposals for potential future work on General Comments and would hold coordination meetings with other bodies such as the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture.  The Committee looked forward to hearing the good news that it would be able to meet in person in Geneva in November and December. 

All the documents relating to the Committee’s work, including reports submitted by States parties, can be found on the session’s webpage.

The webcast of the Committee’s public meetings is available via the following link: http://webtv.un.org/meetings-events/.

The Committee is scheduled to hold its seventy-second session from 8 November to 8 December 2021.

Link: https://www.ungeneva.org/en/news-media/meeting-summary/2021/07/committee-against-torture-adopts-concluding-observations-report

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For use of the information media; not an official record