Source description last updated: 28 October 2020
In brief: The Committee Against Torture (CAT) is a United Nations body of independent experts that considers reports submitted by UN member states on their compliance with the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT).
Coverage on ecoi.net:
State reports, concluding observations (for countries of priorities A-D) as well as NGO reports and reports of national human rights institutions (for countries of priorities A-C).
Covered monthly on ecoi.net.
“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 State parties.
All States parties are obliged to submit regular reports to the Committee on how the rights are being implemented. [...] 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.” (CAT website: Monitoring the prevention of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, undated
Scope of reporting:
Geographic focus: States parties to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
Thematic focus: Torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment
“All UN human rights treaty bodies, including the Committee against Torture, have adopted treaty-specific reporting guidelines to assist States parties in the preparation of initial, 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 welcomes the involvement of national institutions for the protection and promotion of human rights (NHRIs), National Preventive Mechanisms (NPM) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the process of consultations leading to the preparation of reports by Governments.” (CAT website: Overview of the working methods, undated)
The reports are examined by the Committee. “The examination of a report takes the form of a dialogue between the delegation from the reporting State and the Committee’s members. 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 provisions in the State party. […] Following the examination of each report, the country rapporteurs draft a proposal for concluding observations, which is subsequently discussed and adopted in a closed plenary meeting of the Committee. The concluding observations follow a standard format which consists of a brief introduction, followed by a section noting positive aspects and another with the subjects of concern and related recommendations. [...]
Once adopted, all concluding observations are sent to the State party concerned and, at the end of the session, posted on the Committee’s webpages of the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, under the respective session. […] The Committee identifies some of its recommendations that are serious, protective and can be achieved within one year, which it would like to receive information from the State party. The State party, within one year, must provide information on measures taken towards their implementation. [...] The Committee has appointed a rapporteur to follow-up on the State party’s compliance with these requests.” (CAT website: Overview of the working methods, undated)
Languages of publications:
English, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Chinese
Further reading / links:
Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, 10 December 1984 [A/RES/39/46]
UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights: Fact Sheet No. 17, The Committee against Torture, undated
UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights: The United Nations Human Rights Treaty System; An Introduction to the core human rights treaties and the treaty bodies; Fact Sheet No. 30
All links accessed 28 October 2020.