Committee against Torture adopts General Comment on right to redress to victims

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

On 16 November the Committee against Torture celebrated the adoption of its third General Comment, on implementation of article 14 of the UN Convention against Torture (UNCAT). Article 14 provides that States Parties should provide a victim of torture with an effective remedy and that there is an enforceable right to compensation and rehabilitation.

Mark Thomson, APT General Secretary said: “This new General Comment is an important benchmark. It allows all partners in torture prevention to better understand the requirements of the Convention and therefore better implement it. By requiring States to provide for a comprehensive system of redress, victims are given a much better chance to restore their dignity, obtain meaningful rehabilitation for their often terrible and long-lasting injuries, and ensure that such abuse is never repeated.”

The General Comment states that regular visits by independent monitoring bodies, including NPMs, to places where people are deprived of their liberty have a powerful preventive and deterrent effect. Such visits enable experts to examine, at first hand, the conditions of detention and working practices which may lead to violations. The implementation of recommendations made by NPMs or other independent visiting mechanisms is an effective way to prevent violations from happening again.

The APT provided the Committee against Torture with recommendations for the adoption of the General Comment in September 2011.