CTI briefing to LDCs/SIDS Trust Fund Delegates fosters cross-regional experience-sharing and inspires action on UN Convention against Torture

On Tuesday 28th of September 2021, the Convention against Torture Initiative (CTI) organised a briefing to delegates of the LDCs/SIDS Trust Fund who are in Geneva to attend the 48th session of the Human Rights Council, taking place from 13 September to 8 October.

Participating delegates of the LDCs/SIDS Trust Fund at CTI’s briefing on 28 September, held at the InterContinental Hotel in Geneva.

Gathering 15 delegates (from Benin, Cambodia, Comoros, The Gambia, Lesotho, Maldives, Mali, Mauritius, Nepal, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zambia), the briefing session raised awareness on CTI’s work to support States as they ratify and implement the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT).

With more than 70% of the remaining non-States Parties to UNCAT made up of LDCs and SIDS, the discussions provided a valuable opportunity to exchange on existing good State practices to prevent and prohibit torture and ill-treatment, as well as to learn from the specific challenges faced by States and ways to overcome them, including benefiting from CTI’s support and technical assistance. States’ experiences shared during the briefing highlighted how UNCAT ratification has supported the strengthening of the anti-torture legislative framework, putting in place anti-torture policies and practices in policing and the prison context and how it has fostered public trust in State institutions and mechanisms, including by creating a space for opposition leaders, the media, activists and civil society to work safely.

Some concrete good State practices shared included: passing of enabling legislation to provide for an offence of torture in national law in line with UNCAT; strengthening efforts to prevent gender-based violence by providing for gender-specific forms of aggravated torture; setting up complaints mechanisms; and providing prisoners’ families easy access to a hotline service to allow for prompt notification and keeping in regular contact.

LDCs/SIDS Trust Fund delegates engaging with CTI Secretariat during briefing.

The briefing featured the UNCAT ratification and implementation experiences of the CTI Core State of Ghana, alongside those of the CTI State Friends of The Bahamas and The Gambia – whose paths to ratification CTI was pleased to support – and of Uganda.

The deciding factor for our ratification is that, unlike other UN Conventions, there was no single pre-condition for ratification. Moreover, our own Constitution and laws prohibit torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Therefore, upon taking the step of ratification, we did fully engage on a mapping exercise for its effective implementation.

Ms. Sasha Dixon, Second Secretary, Permanent Mission of The Commonwealth of the Bahamas to the UNOG in Geneva, on the Bahama’s decision to ratify UNCAT

As is essential to constructive dialogues on UNCAT implementation and ratification, States also shared their obstacles and identified areas where capacity-building and technical assistance was needed. This included areas such as: legislative review and reform, including enabling legislation to domesticate treaty implementation; training for police and law enforcement, including on interviewing and evidence-gathering; treaty body reporting and the establishment of centralised mechanisms for reporting, such as National Mechanisms for Reporting, Implementation and Follow up (NMRIFs). The CTI Secretariat emphasized its availability to provide support, activities and advice, which is tailored to each State’s specific needs and domestic context, notably on anti-torture legislative review and reform and capacity-building for law enforcement officers on torture prevention.

CTI is pleased to organise once again an in-person briefing to the delegates of the LDCs/SIDS Trust Fund and we are keen on exploring ways we can further support States’ efforts in a manner that is aligned to their contextual realities.

Ms. Gayethri Pillay, Acting Head of the CTI Secretariat

For States interested in how the CTI can support their efforts towards ratification and/or implementation of UNCAT, please contact info@cti2024.org.

The experiences of some of the States parties to UNCAT are available here.

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