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Treaty Bodies | NGOs welcome decision of UN anti-torture Committe to hold online review of State party

ISHR and NGO partners warmly welcome the UN Committee against Torture’s decision to host their first review of a State party since the beginning of the global pandemic, and the consideration of individual complaints which had also been suspended. With this decision, all UN Treaty Bodies have now taken steps to ensure the continuity of their mandate, including periodic reviews, which are crucial to State accountability.

One of the immediate and catastrophic consequences of the global pandemic was that UN Treaty Body sessions could no longer be held in person in Geneva. NGOs from all world regions called on the Treaty Bodies to find new ways to fulfil their mandate, and the UN to provide the necessary resources for the protection gap to be avoided. 

Following the pioneering resumption of States parties reviews by the Disappearances Committee in September 2020, most fellow Treaty Bodies followed suit and started to pilot online reviews, except for the Committee against Torture. In a joint private letter submitted to the Committee in March 2021, NGOs highlighted the crucial role of the Committee in countering impunity worldwide and promoting state accountability for worst crimes.

“The Committee’s decision to hold its first online review of a State party in the context of global restrictions on travel sends a positive message to torture survivors and rights holders everywhere that it will continue to hold States accountable when they torture” says Asger Kjaerum from the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT), “we hope that sustainable avenues can be found for the Committee to continue to fulfil its core mandated functions in a global context where we all have to reinvent the way we work” he concludes.

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