禁止酷刑委员会与非政府组织会晤并讨论如何加强合作(部分翻译)

禁止酷刑委员会

2013年5月13日


与罗马尼亚讨论《禁止酷刑公约任择议定书》

禁止酷刑委员会今天下午与非政府组织会晤并讨论了加强在履行《禁止酷刑和其他残忍、不人道或有辱人格的待遇或处罚公约》规定方面的合作的方法。委员会还单独会见了罗马尼亚代表团,双方就《禁止酷刑公约任择议定书》推迟生效和在该国建立国家预防机制等问题进行了讨论。

委员会副主席弗朗西斯·盖尔主持了此次与非政府组织的会议,他表示:此次年度会议是商讨合作、听取非政府组织对委员会活动意见的良好契机。

在讨论中,非政府组织表示它们已密切关注大会关于加强条约机构的政府间进程并强烈鼓励委员会对之前的建议做出回应,尤其是对那些不在大会职权范围内的行为准则问题。双方还就非自愿治疗和安置入精神病院、报告之前的一系列事宜及报复问题特别报告员等展开了讨论。

委员会专家在答复非政府组织的问题和意见时表示:关于报复问题的特别报告员能在与委员会合作的群体受到报复时迅速采取行动。会议中还讨论了《亚的斯亚贝巴原则》,关于如何进一步推行的决定也将很快发布。专家表示,《原则》第二十条规定的秘密调查没有国家方面的优先次序表,委员会将对收到的信息进行同等处理。

参与这次对话的有下列非政府组织:酷刑受害者国际康复理事会、大赦国际、防止酷刑协会、精神疗法使用者和幸存者世界网络、开放社会司法倡议。

委员会于2013年4月决定同意罗马尼亚的请求,将《任择议定书》的生效日期推迟两年,以便该国在此期间按照具体时间表建立国家预防机制。委员会在与罗马尼亚的会议中公开讨论了推迟《任择议定书》生效日期的问题,代表团表示该国在政治层面的许多变化导致了生效的推迟。罗马尼亚承诺将在2014年12月前建立国家预防机制,在此之前由监察员办公室代履行其职责。

委员会将于5月14日星期二上午十点再次召开会议,届时将开始审议荷兰提交的第五次和第六次合并定期报告 (CAT/C/NLD/5-6)。

MEETING WITH NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS

Introductory Remarks

FRANCIS GAER, Committee Vice-Chairperson, welcomed the non-governmental organizations and said that this annual meeting was an opportunity to discuss cooperation and hear the views of non-governmental organizations with regard to the activities of the Committee.  The Committee members were due for re-election in October and Ms. Gaer informed those present that there was a robust conversation during the intergovernmental process on treaty bodies strengthening in which a proposal was made for the platform for States.

Discussion

International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims welcomed the appointment of the Special Rapporteur on reprisals and asked about the mandate and tools available to the mechanism.  Treaty bodies, including the Committee against Torture, were not very ready to respond to whatever decision was made in the General Assembly on treaty bodies strengthening, and this might lead to imposing decisions which were not best for the system.  Another issue of concern was that of involuntary treatment and placement of persons with psychosocial disabilities; the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims was finalizing a position paper in which it argued that those practices arguably amounted to torture and cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment and that it was necessary to individually evaluate practices falling under the umbrella terms of “involuntary treatment and placement” to determine whether they met the four criteria for torture.

Amnesty International said it was following closely the intergovernmental process of the General Assembly on the treaty bodies strengthening, adding that some of the recommendations under discussion could hamper treaty bodies in their work.  The possibility of a code of conduct and an accountability mechanism had been raised informally, even though the imposition of such a code was clearly beyond the scope of the General Assembly.  The Committee had welcomed the Addis Ababa Guidelines on the independence of treaty bodies and Amnesty International hoped that the Committee would swiftly move to address them.  Lists of issues prior to reporting helped States to provide more focused reporting and Amnesty International asked the Committee for an update on the further evaluation of the procedure and on the preparation of “guidelines for replies to the list of questions”.   

Association for the Prevention of Torture asked the Committee whether its strategy was to adopt general comments on all articles of the Convention and suggested that the Committee took up article 3 on non-reoufelment and article 15 on exclusionary role.  The Committee might consider establishing a working group to deepen cooperation with other treaty bodies on the development of those general comments.  Further guidance by the Committee on the criteria for the selection of States under article 20 on confidential inquiries would be welcomed.  The Association for the Prevention of Torture encouraged the Committee to engage with the treaty bodies strengthening process, to strongly reject the imposition of the code of conduct and to ensure its own rules were consistent with the Addis Ababa principles.

World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry expressed appreciation for the valuable recommendations the Committee had made to end the use of electroshocks and other treatments that might contravene the Convention, but was concerned about the coupling of those recommendations with others that assumed the continuation of involuntary confinement and treatment in psychiatric institutions as a general practice or as a permissible last resort measure.  The Committee should call for the outright abolition of institutional confinement and compulsory treatment.  The continuation of laws that allowed forced detention and treatment with procedural safeguards amounted to government approval of torture and ill-treatment, contrary to the obligations under the Convention to take all efforts to prevent acts of torture and ill-treatment.

Open Society Justice Initiative reiterated the position of other non-governmental organizations concerning the treaty bodies strengthening process and encouraged the Committee to respond to the proposals made by the Governments in the inter-governmental process.  This was important as some of the issues discussed were not within the remit of the General Assembly, such as the code of conduct, but were clearly within the remit of treaty bodies themselves.

CLAUDIO GROSSMAN, Committee Chairperson, thanked all the non-governmental organizations for their comments and said that the two Special Rapporteurs on reprisals would act promptly in cases of reprisals against those cooperating with the Committee.  The Committee would be represented in the New York meeting of Chairpersons on the treaty bodies and Mr. Grossman believed that different Committees would reach a consensus on the treaty bodies issues and proposals and engage in dialogue with all the members of the international community.  The Committee was discussing the Addis Ababa principles and would soon reach a decision on how to proceed.  There was a need to talk about new general comments and this would be a decision of the Committee as a whole.

Responding to questions and issues raised by the non-governmental organizations, other Committee Experts said that there was no priority list for countries for confidential inquiry under article 20, but that the Committee reacted to information it received.  They noted the absence of non-governmental organizations from developing countries and said that mutual trust between treaty bodies and regional and global bodies was crucial for the development of other general comments, including on article 3 and on article 20 as proposed by a non-governmental organization.  Concerning the Committee’s policy on psychiatric institutions, the Experts said that this was an issue of great concern, and given its complexity it was being thoroughly discussed to decide on the best course of action.

DIALOGUE ON THE OPTIONAL PROTOCOL TO THE CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE WITH ROMANIA

CLAUDIO GROSSMAN, Committee Chairperson, said that the purpose of this meeting was to discuss publicly the postponement of the establishment of the national preventive mechanism in Romania, in accordance with the rules of procedures.

CATALIN BEJAN, Deputy Director General of the Romanian National Administration of Penitentiaries, said that regarding the postponement of the entering into force of the national preventive mechanism, Romania was aware it was late with the implementation.  This delay was due to the many changes at the political level in the country.  The country was on the verge of promoting the new law on the ombudsmen which would fulfil the function of the national preventive mechanism until it was in place by the end of 2014.  In terms of doing its best to implement its obligations under the Optional Protocol, Romania said that first and foremost a law was needed for the establishment of the national preventive mechanism within the office of the Ombudsmen; it was hard to give a concrete answer as to when the law might be in place.  Once the law was in place, the concrete calendar could be worked out.  The draft law would be forwarded to all the necessary institutions for comment before its entry into force, including to the Ombudsmen and the Parliamentary Commission.  Romania was committed to doing its best to have the national preventive mechanism in place by December 2014.

Committee Experts noted that the ratification of the Convention and its Optional Protocol brought with it certain obligations including reporting and said that although the Committee had approved the delay in establishing the national preventive mechanism, it was concerned about the 16 years delay in the submission of the second periodic report of Romania.  Could Romania commit to submitting the replies to the list of issues by next September 2013?  When would the Optional Protocol enter into force?

The delegation of Romania reiterated the importance of the enactment of the law and without such a legal framework planning would be hard to do.  Romania hoped that this new law would be adopted soon after which the steps would be made to implement its obligations.  Parliament was aware of the need to respect this international obligation.  In terms of the composition of the national preventive mechanism, several options had been discussed and Romania intended to have a mechanism staffed with experts from various fields which the national preventive mechanism needed to cover. 

Experts appreciated the intention of Romania to have a proper legal framework in place from the very beginning and noted that the Office of the Ombudsmen could have been enlarged with the national preventive mechanism function earlier.  What difficulties was Romania facing, for example were they political in the form of Parliamentary groups which were opposed to the establishment of such a mechanism, or were they financial constraints?

Mr. Bejan said that the draft law on the Ombudsmen was ready and only final comments by the Ombudsmen were needed, after which it would be sent on to relevant institutions and then on to Parliament for approval; there was political will and the only constraint was procedural.  The new law contained the provision on budgeting and resources.  Romania agreed to a simplified reporting procedure and was ready to submit its report by September 2013.

The Chairperson said that the objective of the Committee was the implementation of the Convention and that it was up to States to decide whether they wished to delay the entry into force of the Convention or its Optional Protocol.  The Committee had decided to extend the entry into force of the Optional Protocol for a period of two years on the basis that Romania would establish the national preventive mechanism within that period and according to a precise schedule.  Could the delegation send that precise schedule to the Committee?

A Representative of the Subcommittee for the Prevention of Torture, which also served as the Secretariat for the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, said it was ready to provide any assistance to Member States in the establishment of their national preventive mechanism.  Several principles needed to be respected in this process such as the Paris Principles and the Guidelines of the Subcommittee for the establishment of national preventive mechanisms.

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