Emirates to give answer about OPCAT ratification

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The United Arab Emirates is expected to show its hand concerning torture prevention in June, when replying to the recommendations it received from other States during its human rights review at the UN in Geneva in January. Six States recommended that the Emirates ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT). The UAE replied that it would look into the matter in the near future.

The OPCAT creates a system of prevention in all places of deprivation of liberty in States that join the treaty. Visits by independent national and international experts provide a deterrent to those that might be tempted to use torture and ill-treatment and improve the protection of human dignity of those in detention.

During its review at the Universal Periodic Review Working Group of the UN Human Rights Council, six States parties to the OPCAT from three continents (Austria, Costa Rica, Estonia, Spain, Switzerland and Tunisia) recommended the Emirates to join the torture prevention treaty.

The Emirates’ Minister of State for Foreign Affairs told the UPR Working Group that the UAE would look into the matter of OPCAT ratification in the near future. A formal answer to if and when the Emirates may join the UN torture prevention system is expected in connection with the consideration and adoption of the final outcome of the review at the 23rd session of the Human Rights Council (27 May – 14 June).

The Emirates did not provide written replies at the occasion of the release of the report of the UPR Working Group in January. Its replies are therefore due at the consideration of the report by the full Human Rights Council.  The APT invites the UAE to accept the recommendation to ratify the OPCAT and to proceed swiftly with ratification.