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UN Committee against Torture’s Concluding Observations on Sweden, Ukraine, Venezuela, Australia, Burundi, USA, Croatia and Kazakhstan

GENEVA (24 November 2014) – The UN Committee against Torture will be holding a news conference to discuss the concluding observations of its 53rd session on Friday 28 November at 14:00 in Press Room III, Palais des Nations in Geneva. The Committee will share with the UNOG-based press corps advance copies of its Concluding Observations, strictly embargoed until 14:00 on 28 November.

Among the issues discussed during the session:

SWEDEN: Restrictions on remand prisoners; excessive length of pre-trial detention; wide use of solitary confinement; no separate juvenile justice system; coercive measures, including physical restraints and isolation in psychiatric institutions and hospitals; detention of asylum seekers and irregular immigrants; race hate crimes; absence of definition of torture as defined in the Convention against Torture.

UKRAINE: Slow investigations, lack of accountability regarding excessive use of force by police in connection with protests since November 2013; reports of torture, ill-treatment, enforced disappearances, killings in areas under control of armed groups, notably in Donetsk and Lugansk regions; high rate of mortality among prisoners, mainly from tuberculosis; increase in the number of deaths and suicides in custody; high rate of domestic violence.

VENEZUELA: Large number of detentions; allegations of torture and ill-treatment of people detained after demonstrations February-July 2014; military participation in halting demonstrations and attacks allegedly committed by pro-government armed groups; attacks on and intimidation against human rights defenders; independence of the judiciary; the case of judge Maria Lourdes Afiuni.

BURUNDI: Allegations of torture and ill-treatment by law enforcement officials and prison officers; sub-standard conditions of detention; no independent body to monitor places of detention; high numbers in custody and pre-trial detention; political violence; the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

AUSTRALIA: Violence against women; trafficking in persons; indigenous people in the criminal justice system; compliance with non-refoulement obligations under the Convention; mandatory immigration detention for unauthorised arrivals, including children; offshore processing of asylum seekers claims; work of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

USA: Extraterritorial application of the Convention; inquiries into allegations of torture overseas; Guantanamo Bay detention facilities, transfer of detainees and reliance on diplomatic assurances; interrogation techniques; solitary confinement; use of death penalty; sexual violence, including rape, in prisons; excessive use of force by police, police brutality; sexual abuse in the US military.

CROATIA: Failure to guarantee access to fundamental legal safeguards against torture for detainees, such as immediate access to a lawyer; insufficient monitoring of places of deprivation of liberty; amnesties for acts of torture; violence against women; situation of people in psychiatric establishments; lack of information regarding application of non-refoulement principle.

KAZAKHSTAN: Torture and ill-treatment to extract "voluntary confessions" to show crimes solved; disregard of complaints about torture in judicial proceedings; forced placement in psychiatric institutions of anti-corruption activists, human rights defenders; high number of deaths in custody, especially of persons infected with HIV/AIDs; high incidence of violence among prisoners; use of internal troops, including masked guards, to maintain security in prison.

The concluding observations will be published here on Friday 28 November after 14:00:
http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=930&Lang=en

ENDS

For media inquiries, please contact Liz Throssell, UN Human Rights Media Unit
+41 (0) 22 917 9466 or + 41 (0) 79 752 0488 / ethrossell@ohchr.org

For media requests regarding the Committee against Torture, please contact
Patrice Gillibert +41 (0) 22 917 9332 /pgillibert@ohchr.org

More about the Committee against Torture:
http://www.ohchr.org/en/hrbodies/cat/pages/catindex.aspx

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