UN COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE (CAT)
“The Committee Against Torture (CAT) is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment by its State parties.”
Member states of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; NGOs and human rights institutions
“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 Committee also publishes its interpretation of the content of human rights provisions, known as general comments on thematic issues.”
Scope of reporting:
Geographic focus: States parties (145)
Thematic focus: Implementation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
“The Committee has adopted reporting guidelines to assist States parties in the preparation of initial and periodic reports. […] The Committee attaches great importance to the inclusion in the State reports of information related to the de facto implementation of the Convention as well as factors and difficulties affecting such implementation. The Committee also welcomes the involvement of national institutions for the protection and promotion of human rights and non-governmental organizations in the process of consultations leading to the preparation of reports by Governments.”
The reports are examined by the Committee. “The consideration of a report usually takes the form of a dialogue between the delegation from the reporting State and the Committee. The aim of the dialogue is to enhance the Committee’s understanding of the situation in the State party as it pertains to the Convention and to provide advice on how to improve the implementation of the Convention. […] Following the consideration of each report the Committee proceeds to a deliberation in closed meeting on the basis of which the country rapporteurs draft conclusions and recommendations. The drafts are subsequently discussed and adopted in plenary, also during a closed meeting. The conclusions and recommendations follow a standard format which consists of a brief introduction, followed by sections noting positive aspects, subjects of concern to the Committee and related recommendations.
Once adopted, the conclusions and recommendations are forwarded to the State party concerned and, within 24 hours, read in public meeting in the presence of State representatives. After the public reading the conclusions and recommendations are reflected in a press release and posted in the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. They can also be made available to any interested parties. Finally, they are included in the annual report that the Committee presents to the General Assembly of the United Nations every autumn. […] Among its recommendations the Committee may identify some regarding which it would like to receive information from the State party, within one year, on measures taken towards their implementation. The Committee has appointed a rapporteur to follow-up on the State Party’s compliance with these requests.” (UN CAT Website, http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cat/workingmethods.htm#a2, accessed on 28 October 2008)
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