Statement

Introduction of the OIC Amendments to the Draft Resolution on “Torture and Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment”

 

Mr. Chairman,

On behalf of the Member States of the OIC, apart from those which are co-sponsors of the draft resolution, I would like to introduce amendments contained in L.62. We offered these amendments as suggestions during the so-called open-ended consultations on L-47.

The OIC members sponsoring these amendments suggested four points.

First, we propose inclusion of the words ‘including occupied territories’ in OP.3. The words “any territory under their jurisdiction'” are insufficient. These should refer specifically to territories under foreign occupation. Indeed, since it is in occupied territories that torture is most rampant and used with impunity.

Second we believe the call on states in OP 8 “to take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures, to prevent the use of equipment which is specifically designed to inflict torture or other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment” should also seek halt to production and trade of such equipment. If instruments of torture were not produced or sold, their use could also decline. This is the logic of innumerable treaties such as the Ottawa Treaty banning land mines. Our amendment is all the more relevant when read in conjunction with OP-9 which calls for a study to prohibit such trade and production. Interestingly, countries which were vocal in denouncing torture are also the most unwilling to include reference to production of the instruments of torture. Our amendment addresses the root of the evil of torture – i.e. the instrument of torture.

Third, we believe that this study should be carried out by the Sub-Commission on Human Rights. Such studies are part of its specific mandate. On the other hand, the task of the Special Rapporteur on Torture is to collect information. The Special Rapporteur already has a very heavy workload, as evident from the fact that he has difficulty in presenting his annual reports in time. We propose, therefore, that in OP-9 the words “Special Rapporteur” be replaced by the “Sub-Commission”.

Finally, as we have mentioned previously, special mechanisms should comply with their mandates including prescriptions contained in the resolutions of the Commission on Human Rights. The OIC is greatly concerned at attempts by any special mechanism to choose unilaterally not to fulfil the mandate extended to it by the Commission on Human Rights. The Commission had asked the Special Rapporteur at a Special Session to visit the occupied Palestinian territories and to report on the situation on the ground. The unilateral decision of the Special Rapporteur, not to visit the occupied Palestinian territories, was unjustified. In any case, he was not asked to report on the basis of information already available.

His decision not to go was all the more surprising since there was overwhelming evidence of the cases of torture in occupied Palestinian territories. The reports of both the High Commissioner and the International Commission of Inquiry on Palestine affirmed the existence of cases of torture. Such reports were also reported in international media and communications sent by NGOs, more specifically, the OMCT. Interestingly, the report of the Special Rapporteur itself refers to instances of torture. Yet, he chose not to visit the occupied territories. We therefore recommend that OP-27 be replaced with the alternate paragraph proposed by the OIC, which clearly reflects the situation.

We trust that these four amendments will evoke the support of the wide membership of the CHR.

I thank you.