UN Committee against Torture publishes findings on Cuba, Iceland, Iraq, Kenya, Montenegro and Uruguay
GENEVA (13 May 2022) – The United Nations Committee against Torture (CAT) on Friday issued findings on Cuba, Iceland, Iraq, Kenya, Montenegro and Uruguay, the six states parties that it examined at its last session.
The conclusions contain the positive aspects of the implementation by each country of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, as well as the main concerns and recommendations of the Committee. Key highlights include:
With regard to reports of harassment, arbitrary arrests, intimidation, imprisonment and reprisals against human rights defenders, the Committee urged Cuba to put an end to these practices. The Committee also stressed the importance of an independent and impartial judiciary.
Regarding the repression of the July 2021 social protests, the Committee urged Cuba to promptly and thoroughly investigate arbitrary detentions, excessive use of force and ill-treatment, and to punish those responsible. The Committee also called on Cuba to establish a national human rights institution and an independent mechanism to carry out regular and unannounced visits to all places where people are deprived of their liberty.
The Committee expressed concern that current Icelandic law allows four weeks of solitary confinement in pre-trial detention and an even longer period of solitary confinement for detainees charged with an offense punishable by at least ten years. of imprisonment. While welcoming Iceland’s willingness to review the existing legal framework, the Committee called on the State party to bring its legislation on solitary confinement into line with international standards.
Given the persistently high level of domestic and sexual violence in Iceland, including rape, and the apparently limited prosecutions, the Committee recommended that Iceland redouble its efforts to investigate all sexual and gender-based violence, prosecute the perpetrators alleged and adequately compensate the victims.
The Committee was concerned about persistent reports of torture or ill-treatment in detention centres. She observed that existing mechanisms to investigate acts of torture and ill-treatment committed by public officials do not effectively hold perpetrators to account. The Committee urged the State party to immediately address the issue of impunity and adopt measures to ensure accountability in practice.
The Committee welcomed recent legislative developments in Iraq, such as the adoption of the Yazidi Women Survivors Act in 2021 to redress victims of conflict-related sexual violence. It called on the State party to effectively implement this new legislation by allocating sufficient funds and ensuring the active participation of women from communities affected by the conflict.
The Committee was deeply concerned about reports of enforced disappearances and excessive use of force, including lethal force, in arrests and in policing protests around the election period in 2017, as well as the low number of investigations, prosecutions and convictions of perpetrators. He urged Kenya to thoroughly investigate all allegations relating to extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and excessive use of force, and to prosecute impartially all law enforcement officials and military personnel. .
Female genital mutilation remains common in some Kenyan communities, with reports that these harmful practices are now medicalized and performed by doctors.
Accordingly, the Committee called on Kenya to take steps to ensure that the law prohibiting female genital mutilation is widely enforced, that perpetrators, including doctors, are prosecuted and that victims are adequately compensated.
The Committee remained concerned about reports of torture and ill-treatment of suspects in police custody, the low number of convictions and the lenient sentences imposed on those convicted of such acts. He recommended that all complaints of torture and ill-treatment be investigated promptly and independently, and that the alleged perpetrators be immediately suspended from duty for the investigation and receive sanctions commensurate with the gravity of their acts. if they are found guilty.
With regard to conditions of detention, the Committee called on Montenegro to intensify its efforts to eliminate overcrowding and improve conditions in prisons and other places of detention, including psychiatric institutions, by bringing conditions in line with standards international..
The Committee was concerned about the absence of a definition of torture in national legislation and, consequently, about Uruguay’s inability to collect statistics on complaints against torture, to investigate such acts and to impose penalties on perpetrators.
The Committee also expressed concern about the poor conditions of detention in prisons, the increase in the number of deaths in custody, the lack of adequate medical assistance for detainees and the little progress in investigating complaints against police violence and serious human rights violations committed from 1968 to 1985. He called on Uruguay to investigate all cases of death in custody, to develop strategies to reform its penitentiary system, to provide health care for detainees and to put in place effective mechanisms to report acts of torture and ill-treatment.
The above conclusions, officially called Concluding Observations, are now available online on the session page.
The Committee will hold its next session from July 12 to 29 this year to consider Botswana, Nicaragua, the State of Palestine and the United Arab Emirates.
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