OMCT E-bulletin : 52nd session of the Committee against Torture - May 2014

OMCT E-bulletin - May 2014

52nd session of the Committee against Torture

During its 52nd session (28 April to 23 May 2014) the Committee against Torture considered the State reports submitted by the Holy See, Uruguay, Guinea, Cyprus, Lithuania, Montenegro, Sierra Leone and Thailand.

E-bulletin Contents

Consideration of State reports

Adoption of List of Issues and LOIPR

General Comment on Article 3 of the CAT Convention

OMCT’s new initiative: mobilising civil society around CAT Committee

Next Session

OMCT’s new initiative: mobilising civil society around CAT Committee

The 52nd session of the CAT Committee is the first session in which OMCT carried out its role as facilitator between the members of civil society and the experts of the CAT Committee. The purpose of this convening function is to mobilise and coordinate activities of civil society organisations (CSOs) and minimise gaps in alternative reporting to the Committee against Torture. In carrying out this role, OMCT aims to optimise the dialogue between the CAT Committee members and CSOs. With this new initiative OMCT provides more visibility to the CAT Committee and advocates for the implementation of the Convention against Torture and the Concluding Observations of the CAT Committee.

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Consideration of State Reports

Holy See – Failure to prevent, stop, and punish child sexual abuse

The Committee expresses deep concern over the Holy See’s failure to prevent, stop, and sanction sexual abuse by Catholic clergy and calls on the Holy See to ensure that Holy See officials and other public officials of the Vatican State take effective measures to monitor the conduct of all individuals under their effective control and to stop and sanction such conduct when they become aware of credible allegations. [Read more]

Uruguay – Serious concern about cases of ill-treatment of children deprived of liberty

The CAT Committee is particularly alarmed by the situation of children in conflict with the law and deprived of liberty in Uruguay. It urges Uruguay to ensure that the juvenile justice system conforms to international standards. The CAT experts also express concern about the allegations of ill-treatment of children in detention centres run by the System of Criminal Liability for Adolescents (SIRPA) as well as about reprisals against the victims, their families and detention facilities officials who denounce such abuses. [Read more]

Guinea – Review of a non-reporting State

For the first time since its establishment, the CAT Committee has decided to review a non-reporting State. After an almost 25-year delay Guinea was scheduled for examination. The state party responded by sending a delegation presenting finally its initial report on the very day of the scheduled examination. In its examination, the CAT Committee expresses regret at the absence of a specific provision in the law prohibiting torture and ill-treatment under any circumstances and urges Guinea to enact legislation to establish an absolute prohibition of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment and to ensure that establish torture is not subject to any statute of limitation. [Read more]

Cyprus – Deep concerns about deportation of asylum seekers despite serious risks of torture

The treatment of asylum seekers in Cyprus has been discussed at length during the country examination. The Committee is particularly alarmed by reports indicating that asylum seekers have been deported to their countries of origin despite serious risk of torture and by the fact that they do not have access to legal aid at the first instance of the asylum process. [Read more]

Lithuania – Too little progress in the investigation into alleged involvement in the CIA rendition and secret detention programmes

The Committee addresses the issue of Lithuania’s alleged complicity in the CIA rendition and secret detention programmes and urges the State to complete the investigation and to ensure that its investigation process is transparent. [Read more]

Montenegro – Call for intensifying efforts to fight impunity for war crimes

The Committee is concerned that persons deprived of their liberty are not always afforded all fundamental legal safeguards, and calls on the State to ensure that all persons deprived of their liberty have the right to access an independent lawyer and an independent doctor, as well as to contact a relative from the outset of the deprivation of liberty. Another major focus of discussion is the climate of impunity surrounding war crimes. [Read more]

Sierra Leone – High prevalence of violence against women

The Committee is concerned that, thirteen years after the ratification of the Convention, Sierra Leone has still not incorporated the Convention into the national legal system and it urges the State to enact legislation to give effect to the Convention in the domestic legal system. The Committee is raises the high prevalence of violence against women in the country, including domestic violence, sexual violence, female genital mutilation, child marriage, and lynching of elderly women accused of witchcraft and ritual murders. [Read more]

Thailand – Impunity for widespread acts of torture to be addressed as priority

The Committee recommends that the State promptly consider withdrawing its declarations regarding articles 1, 4 and 5 of the Convention, made at the time of accession, to ensure it is in compliance with the provisions of the Convention. The Committee further urges the State to adopt a definition of torture in line with article 1 of the Convention and to include torture as a separate and specific crime in its legislation. The Committee is seriously concerned about the on-going and continued allegations of the widespread use of torture and ill-treatment by security and military officials, notably in the Southern Border Provinces, to obtain confessions. [Read more]

Adoption of List of Issues and LOIPR

The Committee has adopted LOIPR of Canada, the Czech Republic, Greece, Mexico, Norway, Peru and the Russian Federation. Together with Greek Helsinki Monitor, the Coordinated Organizations and Communities for Roma Human Rights in Greece and the Minority Rights Group Greece, OMCT submitted a report for the development of the LOIPR in respect of Greece’s periodic report.

The Committee has also adopted Lists of Issues of Burundi and Venezuela. COFAVIC and OMCT submitted a joint report to contribute to the List of Issues of the Venezuela’s periodic report.

General Comment on Article 3 of the CAT Convention

The Committee Against Torture has held its annual meeting with NGOs that wish to bring concerns and issues to the attention of the Committee members. During this year’s meeting, OMCT made available a paper inviting the Committee to draft a new General Comment on non-refoulement as enshrined in Article 3 of the Convention. This paper mainly sets out key areas of concern on which clarification and guidance by the Committee would be needed.

Next session

Consideration of State reports:

· Australia

· Burundi

· Croatia

· Kazakhstan

· Serbia

· Sweden

· Ukraine


· Venezuela

The deadline for NGO submissions is 17 October 2014.

List of Issues prior to reporting (LOIPR) to be adopted:

· Armenia

· Gabon

· Qatar

· Senegal

· Togo

The deadline for NGO submissions is 22 August 2014.

OMCT E-bulletin is realised with the financial aid of the European Commission. The views expressed in the document are solely those of OMCT and do not represent those of the European Commission.

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