UN Committee against Torture issues new guidelines on asylum seekers’ rights

28 February 2018

New guidelines developed by the United Nations Committee against Torture aim to help Governments avoid violating international human rights law, and to help asylum seekers avoid torture or other ill-treatment.

 

The new document addresses governments’ implementation of an article under the Convention against Torture that deals with non-refoulement – a ban on expelling, returning (“refouling”) or extraditing a person to another State where he or she could face torture, according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The new document helps the Committee against Torture give guidance to States, and also helps Governments assess whether an asylum seeker faces a personal risk of torture or ill-treatment in his or her country of origin, if returned. It provides a checklist, which among other things, asks Government authorities to keep in mind that torture victims and other vulnerable persons frequently suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“The list could also help people at risk of being sent back, by assisting them in making their claims before the national authorities,” said Committee Chair Jens Modvig.

The checklist was updated in response to the migration crisis and the consequential increase in complaints from people alleging they risked torture or other ill-treatment if forcibly removed from their countries of asylum to their countries of origin.

The 10-member expert Committee monitors implementation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment by its State parties.

The full document is available here.  

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