HRC 31 - Statement - Interactive Dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on torture
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HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
31st session (29 February 2016 -24 March
Item 3: Interactive dialogue with the Special
Rapporteur on torture and the Special Rapporteur on sale of children
statement delivered by The World Organisation
Against Torture (OMCT),
organisation in general consultative status
On the occasion of the
international women’s day, OMCT thanks Special Rapporteur Mr. Méndez for his
report about gender perspectives on torture and ill-treatment and strongly welcomes
the comprehensive set of legal standards laid out. The report will be a tool of great value for victims and
anti-torture defenders around the world.
Mr. Méndez does not draw distinctions or hierarchies among victims of torture by drafting a thematic report focusing on women and LGBTI persons, as some State representatives seem to have suggested today in their interventions; instead, in his latest report he tackles a sad reality: women and LGBTI persons's rights are too often neglected due to the existence of patriarchal power structures and discriminatory practices that need
to be identified, acknowledged and addressed.
OMCT is deeply concerned by retrogressive
developments witnessed worldwide, and we call on your mandate to monitor the enforcement
of your recommendations taking into account the CEDAW General Recommendation on women’s access to justice, adopted in July
2015, notably to ensure access to justice and integral reparation for
victims of conflict-related sexual violence, in countries such as Colombia and the DRC.
OMCT welcomes your
condemnation of restrictive laws prohibiting abortions in cases of rape or foetal
impairment, since they violate women’s right to be free from torture and
ill-treatment. Within its global work fighting against torture, OMCT has brought
the issue of denial of abortion to the attention of the CAT Committee, for
example in its shadow reports of Macedonia
and the United States.
OMCT commends your efforts to underline
the cross-cutting dimension of torture and ill-treatment to many human rights
violations suffered by LGBTI persons. We are dismayed by the significant
increase of reported killings of transgender persons particularly in Latin America,
including in Honduras and Mexico. On
this latter country, could you confirm whether your follow-up visit has been already
In addition, Mr. Méndez, could
you please mention examples of best practices identified within your mandate to
guarantee that transgender persons can develop their life project without
interference with their right to personal integrity?
OMCT has also documented a rise in the number
of reports denouncing “conversion” therapies for LGBTI persons that encompass
liberty depriving measures, in countries such as Guatemala; and sees with serious concern regressive measures in countries
you have recently visited such as Tunisia,
first-grade students were condemned for sodomy only last week.
Moreover, women and
LGBTI rights’ defenders fighting against torture remain
particularly at risk, in countries like Egypt,
Cameroon, Honduras, Saudi Arabia and the Philippines. Mr. Méndez, could you
mention cases brought to your attention where women’s rights defenders have
been targeted because of their fight to eradicate torture? What actions have
you taken in this regard?
OMCT welcomes your mission
reports on Brazil and Georgia, and
strongly supports your recommendations. In Brazil, OMCT remains particularly concerned about the legal
initiatives that aim at reducing human rights guarantees to children in prison,
such as the lowering of the age of criminal majority. The OMCT would like as
well to reinforce the call to the Brazilian Government to provide adequate
funding to local NPMs and ensure transparency in the selection of its members.
Finally, OMCT urges States to
accept outstanding country visit requests and to cooperate fully with your
mandate, including by responding promptly and comprehensively to your communications,
and implementing your recommendations.