Human Rights Defenders and Russian Authorities to Report at United Nations on Torture in Russia
The United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT) will evaluate the situation with torture in the Russian Federation.
Tomorrow, November 8, Russia’s Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are set to consult members of the Committee as part of the official hearings on Russian Federation’s compliance with the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
The consultations shall be based on a discussion of the NGOs produced Alternative report on torture and Russian government’s measures for its prevention. The Alternative report was prepared by a Coalition of human rights organizations and coordinated by the NGO “Public Verdict Foundation”. The report will be made public tomorrow.
The Russian Federation must report to the UN every year on measures taken to prevent torture. It made this commitment in 1987 when it ratified the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. According to existing procedure, the Committee holds formal consultations with human rights and other NGOs before the hearing of the state’s report. The purpose of these consultations is so members of the Committee may receive additional information on the situation with torture in the country from persons and organizations that by nature of their work meet with victims of torture. The Committee aims towards optimal objectivity and seeing issues comprehensively from diverse angles in a given state. This year the consultations will be dedicated to discussing issues put forward in Russian NGOs’ Alternative report.
The report is titled “Alternative” because it supplements the official report provided by the Russian Federation (Russia’s fifth periodic report was submitted to the UN Committee in December 2010.) Official reports provide contents of laws as well statistics to do with torture, meanwhile they lack sufficient information about the actual implementation of the laws, issues that arise in practice, and analysis of the causes of the existence of torture. The Alternative report fills in these gaps.
Following consultations with the NGOs and the consideration of the report of the Russian Federation, to be held November 12, the Committee will adopt concluding remarks indicating positive changes in the situation with torture in Russia, note existing problems in this area and provide a list of recommendations. Because some of these recommendations will be assigned priority over others, in a year Russia will have to prepare a report on their performance.
The Alternative report
prepared by a Coalition which includes the organizations "Public
Verdict Foundation", "Civic Assistance", Human Rights
Center "Memorial", "Soldiers' Mothers of St.
Petersburg", the Independent Psychiatric Association of Russia,
Interregional "Committee Against Torture", Human Rights
Institute, Moscow office of "Penal Reform International",
"Youth Human Rights Movement", Krasnoyarsk "The
Committee for the Protection of Human Rights", Centre for Civic
Education and Human Rights, The Russian Justice Initiative
and the Non-Profit Organization "Legal Assistance – Astraea."