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Despite ratifying the Convention against Torture in 1998 and its strong constitutional protections for human rights, South Africa sees numerous reports of acts of torture committed by police officials, which have resulted in a significant increase in the number of deaths in police custody. Another alarming problem is the continuing prevalence of gender-based and domestic violence against women and girls, which encompasses murder, attempted murder and sexual offences. Few cases are open, and police fails to investigate the crimes and gather forensic evidence. Women and girls also face continued challenges in accessing sexual and reproductive health services and information.
There is systematic xenophobic violence against refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, partly driven by years of impunity for past attacks and failures in the criminal justice system that have left this vulnerable group exposed and unprotected, with sometimes deadly consequences. The OMCT participated in highlighting these situations at the 66th Session of the United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT), in 2019.