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Grenada accedes to UNCAT: Grand news from Saint George’s

Friday, September 27, 2019

Press release- On 26 September 2019, Grenada became the newest State Party to the UN Convention against Torture against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT), depositing their instrument of accession during the UN Treaty Event as part of the UN General Assembly in New York. 

The Governments of Chile, Denmark, Fiji, Ghana, Indonesia and Morocco, as the Core States behind the Convention against Torture Initiative (CTI), warmly congratulate the Government of Grenada for taking this momentous step, which will support Grenada in moving forward on its human rights priorities, by entrenching the principles contained in the Convention.

Worldwide, the number of States parties stands at 168, with the Convention becoming ever closer to universal ratification. A healthy eight States parties to UNCAT are Caribbean countries* and 19 others are in Latin America.

Grenada’s Minister of Legal Affairs, Hon. Kindra Maturine-Stewart, explained her Government’s decision to accede to the treaty:

“The fundamental principles of the UN Convention against Torture are enshrined in Grenada’s Constitution and in other legislative provisions. As a country, we are committed to the rule of law and the fair and effective administration of justice. Acceding to UNCAT will benefit Grenada in establishing a more professional and effective police and criminal justice system.”

She noted the decision to accede to UNCAT was consistent with Grenada’s UPR commitments in 2015, and has been part of a positive process of engagement with the CTI, stating:

“Grenada has been a beneficiary of CTI’s technical support and quiet diplomatic encouragement, and we look forward to additional discussions with the CTI States as we move to implement the Convention fully.”

Speaking on Grenada’s accession, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Chile to the UN in Geneva, H.E. Juan Eduardo Eguiguren, noted: 

“The Caribbean’s strong rule of law tradition has been boosted by the recent accession of Grenada to the UN Convention against Torture. From Chile’s experience, acceding to the Convention will also advance Grenada’s human rights and criminal justice reform agendas. The CTI Core States congratulate Grenada on this decision, and we remain available to support the Government’s plans and priorities for implementing the Convention.”

CTI is proud to have cooperated with Grenada in the lead up to its accession. CTI’s first-ever diplomatic country visit included a high-level delegation to Grenada in July 2016. In December the same year, CTI hosted five senior government officials on a study visit to Geneva. Grenada’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Ministry for Legal Affairs, and the Police and Prison Services participated, with discussions undertaken in order to prepare for the accession to and implementation of UNCAT. Grenada also participated in CTI’s regional events in Chile in April 2017 and in St Lucia in June 2018, respectively.

Dr. Alice Edwards, Head of the CTI Secretariat, expressed her delight at the accession:

“The CTI has been liaising closely with the Government of Grenada over the last few years and has been particularly impressed with their methodical assessment of whether to ratify the UN Convention against Torture. They have clearly noted the benefits not just of joining the international community in deploring the use of torture or other ill-treatment, but more particularly in recognising the many practical advantages that the Convention can bring to domestic institutions and authorities.”

In acceding to UNCAT, Grenada has delivered on its commitment made during the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review in 2015, when it supported recommendations made by several States to ratify UNCAT. It will be able to share the good news in Geneva at the third cycle of its UPR in January 2020.

States that are interested in assistance with ratifying and/or implementing the Convention can get in touch directly with the CTI Core States through their diplomatic representations in Geneva or New York, or via the CTI Secretariat at info@cti2024.org.

Background

CTI, launched in 2014, is made up of Chile, Denmark, Fiji (joined February 2019), Ghana, Indonesia and Morocco, and is supported by a full-time Secretariat based in Geneva. CTI is based on constructive dialogue, international cooperation and technical assistance.

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a State peer review process in which the human rights record of every State in the world is considered as part of the Human Rights Council, based in Geneva. States have the opportunity to respond to recommendations by other States. Of the top five recommendations put to States during the second cycle, two relate to ratifying UNCAT or torture prevention more generally. For more information, see https://www.ohchr.org/en/hrbodies/upr/pages/uprmain.aspx.

* The other Caribbean States parties are: Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, Cuba, The Dominican Republic, Guyana, and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

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