Monitoring the prevention of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment

The Committee Against Torture (CAT) is the body of 10 independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment by its State parties.

All States parties are obliged to submit regular reports to the Committee on how the rights are being implemented. States must report initially one year after acceding to the Convention and then every four years. The Committee examines each report and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the State party in the form of "concluding observations".

In addition to the reporting procedure, the Convention establishes three other mechanisms through which the Committee performs its monitoring functions: the Committee may also, under certain circumstances, consider individual complaints or communications from individuals claiming that their rights under the Convention have been violated, undertake inquiries, and consider inter-state complaints.

The Optional Protocol to the Convention, which entered into force in June 2006, creates the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT). The SPT has a mandate to visit places where persons are deprived of their liberty in the States parties. Under the Optional Protocol, States parties shall establish a independent national preventive mechanisms for the prevention of torture at the domestic level which has also a mandate to inspect places of detention.

As of 2015, the Committee holds three four-week sessions per year in April-May, July-August and November-December.

The Committee also publishes its interpretation of the content of the provisions of the Convention, known as general comments on thematic issues.

For more information about the work of the Committee Against Torture, click here.

Country-specific information