New procedure opens the possibility for third party interventions at UN anti-torture Committee
ISHR welcomes the adoption by the Committee against Torture (CAT) of a procedure that enables the submission of third party interventions to individual communications. By doing so, the CAT aligns with the practice of fellow UN Treaty Bodies.
Third party interventions (TPIs) – or Amicus Curiae – can have a significant impact on process, resulting in just outcomes and the advancement of international human rights law. A number of Treaty Bodies have adopted dedicated procedures in recent years to enable and facilitate the submission of TPIs.
ISHR’s recent guide on Third Party Interventions to UN treaty bodies provides the first compilation of existing procedures, practical tips for petitioners on the submission of TPIs, and an overview of existing TPIs to UN Treaty Bodies made public by authors.
So far, the Committee against Torture (CAT), despite being one of the two Committees receiving most individual communications, together with the Human Rights Committee, had no dedicated procedure, and was lagging behind. The CAT procedure will enable the Committee to receive, or source, specialised or focused submissions on substantial issues that may arise from the consideration of individual communications. The procedure is all the more welcome as Treaty Bodies normally do not get to hear the victims, therefore TPIs can help the Committee to get to a better understanding of specific issues related to individual communications under review.
Philip Grant, the Executive Director of TRIAL International, an organisation which has brought a number of cases to the CAT, welcomes the new Guidelines.
Third party interventions can significantly enhance the contextualisation and understanding of a specific matter under consideration by the Committee as part of the review of individual communications. We look forward to consider making use of this opportunity.
At the 2023 meeting of UN Treaty Body chairpersons, ISHR raised concerns about the patterns of reprisals committed by China against individuals who engage with Treaty Bodies. ISHR and NGO partners also took the opportunity to discuss a range of practical measures related to NGO engagement as a follow-up to the 2020 review process.
On 15 June 2022, the National Assembly of Niger passed a law on the rights and duties of human rights defenders. This makes Niger the fourth African country to adopt such a law. However, for the law to produce the desired effects, it must be widely known and understood by all stakeholders. The establishment of an independent and inclusive protection mechanism will ensure the full implementation of the law.
The adoption of the draft law approving the status of Non-Governmental Organisation in Angola by the National Assembly considerably limits in its provisions the enjoyment of fundamental freedoms and shrinks civic and democratic space. We are calling the Special Rapporteurs on the situation of human rights defenders to help address this situation.
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