CAT public session: Covid-19 exposes good practices plus gaps in national responses

Monday, July 13, 2020

On 13 July 2020, the Committee against Torture held its 69th session entirely virtually in light of precautionary measures adopted to face the Covid-19 pandemic. 

At 14:00 today, the Convention against Torture Initiative (CTI) delivered a public statement to the Committee against Torture's 69th session, highlighting the relevance of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT) in Covid-19 times.

The statement was jointly delivered by H.E. Frank Tressler, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Chile to the United Nations in Geneva and H.E. Hasan Kleib, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Indonesia to the United Nations in Geneva on behalf of CTI.

H.E. Ambassador Tressler underscored the relevance of the duty to prevent torture and ill-treatment and the non-derogability of the prohibition in relation to national responses to Covid-19, reflecting on a number of good State practices as well as challenges in national responses and criminal justice systems. His statement acknowledged that the pandemic should also be approached as an opportunity to rethink how criminal justice systems work and what can be improved, including in ordinary times.

H.E. Ambassador Kleib's intervention highlighted CTI's efforts and ongoing work in supporting States to professionalise their police services, reflecting on the recent urgent debate in the UN Human Rights Council regarding racism and police reform. He referred to the #CTIPolicePledge, calling on States and police chiefs to announce zero tolerance to racism in policing. 

The CTI statement also encouraged all treaty bodies, including CAT, to endeavour to carry out State party reviews virtually, when they cannot be undertaken in person.

The full CTI Statement is accesible here.

CAT's public session can be re-watched here: