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 States 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, created 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.
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, read the CAT fact sheet.
The work of the Committee
The Convention has inspired new national laws, helped put in place important protection mechanisms and raised awareness about the needs and rights of victims. However, torture continues to plague all regions of the world, with devastating impacts on individuals and communities.
Universal ratification and full implementation of the Convention are key to the future of the Committee. People need to be able to trust their institutions of justice; governments need to protect human rights instead of oppressing people. Torture has no place in the peaceful, equitable and sustainable future we are striving to build. Together, we spare no effort to banish torture, protect people and bring torturers to justice.