CTI holds Annual Briefing to the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture

Yesterday, the Convention against Torture Initiative (CTI) held its annual briefing to the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) as part of the Subcommittee’s 45th session taking place in Geneva on 8-12 November, marking the first in-person SPT session since November 2019.
Photograph from the CTI briefing to the UN SPT
CTI briefing the SPT at Palais Wilson.

The joint remarks delivered on behalf of CTI by H.E. Ambassador Frank Tressler, Permanent Representative of Chile to the UN in Geneva and Mr. Anare Leweniqila, Chargé d’affaires and Deputy Permanent Representative of Fiji to the UN in Geneva, highlighted UNCAT’s ratification progress and CTI’s latest implementation activities, events and tools since CTI’s last briefing to the Subcommittee in November 2020.

With Sudan’s recent UNCAT ratification in August 2021, Ambassador Tressler shared that, of the regions with remaining non-States-parties to the Convention, Africa is the one that is closest to achieving UNCAT regional universality. It was further noted that the African region has also seen the most progress in establishing National Preventive Mechanisms – as mandated by the Optional Protocol to the Convention (OPCAT) – and accounts for the largest number of OPCAT signatories in any region.

Noting the coinciding 39th session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), currently taking place in Geneva from 1-12 November, Ambassador Tressler highlighted the key role that the UPR can play in encouraging States to ratify or accede to UNCAT and OPCAT, noting:

“(…) the UPR provides an enormous encouragement for treaty ratification and, in the case of UNCAT, we have seen how almost all States who have become parties to the Convention since the launch of CTI in 2014 had previously supported UPR recommendations to ratify or accede to the Convention”.

H.E. Ambassador Frank Tressler, Permanent Representative of Chile to the United Nations in Geneva

Chargé d’affaires of Fiji Mr. Leweniqila updated the Subcommittee on CTI’s most recent UNCAT implementation work, including two online technical workshops on anti-torture legislative drafting and reform for States in the Caribbean and Pacific regions; and a professional training workshop on investigative interviewing for the West African States. Speaking on CTI’s ongoing work on the development of practical UNCAT implementation tools, including an upcoming tool on the initial medical assessment of detainees upon admission to pre-trial detention centres and prisons, Mr. Leweniqila expressed:

The tool provides guidance through highlighting promising practice examples from around the world to policy-makers, legislators, prison authorities and staff on how to institutionalize and conduct effective initial medical assessments to best fulfil the State’s obligation to prevent, identify and document cases of torture and other ill-treatment”.

H.E. Mr. Anare Leweniqila, Chargé d’affaires and Deputy Permanent Representative of Fiji to the United Nations in Geneva

A fruitful discussion followed with the SPT members on ways to reinforce mutual work on torture prevention, as well as on experiences and progress in ratifying and implementing the UN Convention against Torture and its Optional Protocol.

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

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