United Nations

A/51/426


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

27 September 1996

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH


                                                        A/51/426
                                                              

General Assembly
Fifty-first session
Item 110 (a)


    HUMAN RIGHTS QUESTIONS:  IMPLEMENTATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS INSTRUMENTS

         Status of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel,
               Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

                       Report of the Secretary-General


1.   The General Assembly, by its resolution 39/46 of 10 December 1984,
adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession the
Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading
Treatment or Punishment, contained in the annex to that resolution,
and called upon all Governments to consider signing and ratifying the
Convention as a matter of priority.

2.   The Convention was opened for signature in New York on
4 February 1985.  In accordance with article 27 thereof, the
Convention entered into force on 26 June 1987, on the thirtieth day
after the date of the deposit with the Secretary-General of the
twentieth instrument of ratification or accession.

3.   In its resolution 49/177 of 23 December 1994, the General Assembly
commended the Committee against Torture for its excellent report 1/ in
its modified presentation and for the improvement in its working
methods; emphasized the importance of the strictest compliance by
States parties with their obligations under the Convention; and urged
all States parties to the Convention to notify the Secretary-General
of their acceptance of the amendments to articles 17 and 18 of the
Convention as soon as possible. 2/  Further, the Assembly welcomed the
attention that the Committee had given to the development of an
effective system of reporting on the implementation of the Convention
by States parties, and especially its revision of its general
guidelines for the submission of reports by States parties, as well as
its practice of formulating concluding observations after the
consideration of such reports.  The Assembly welcomed also the
continuing close contacts and exchange of information, reports and
documents between the Committee against Torture and the Special
Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on questions relating to
torture; requested the Secretary-General to ensure the provision of
appropriate staff and facilities for the effective performance of the
functions of the Committee; urged all States that had not yet done so to
become parties to the Convention as a matter of priority; invited all States
ratifying or acceding to the Convention and those States parties which
had not yet done so to make the declarations provided for in
articles 21 and 22 of the Convention and to consider the possibility
of withdrawing their reservations to article 20; and requested the
Secretary-General to submit to the General Assembly at its fifty-first
session a report on the status of the Convention.

4.   The Commission on Human rights, at its fifty-second session,
adopted resolution 1996/33 A of 19 April 1996, in which it welcomed
the Committee's practice of carrying out inquiries into cases where
there were indications of the systematic practice of torture in States
parties; reminded all States that paragraph 60 of the Vienna
Declaration and Programme of Action read:  "States should abrogate
legislation leading to impunity for those responsible for grave
violations of human rights such as torture and prosecute such
violations, thereby providing a firm basis for the rule of law";
emphasized the obligation of States parties under article 10 of the
Convention to ensure education and training for personnel who might be
involved in the custody, interrogation or treatment of any individual
subjected to any form of arrest, detention or imprisonment, and called
upon the High Commissioner for Human Rights, in conformity with his
mandate established in General Assembly resolution 48/141 of
20 December 1993, to provide, at the request of Governments, advisory
services in that regard, as well as technical assistance in the
development, production and distribution of appropriate teaching
material for the purpose.

5.   As at 3 September 1996, the Convention had been ratified or
acceded to by 99 States.  In addition, 13 States has signed the
Convention.  The list of States that have signed, ratified or acceded
to the Convention, as well as the dates of their signature,
ratification or accession, is contained in the annex to the present
report.

6.   As at the same date, 37 of the States parties to the Convention,
namely Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada,
Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France,
Greece, Hungary, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco,
Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russian
Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Togo,
Tunisia, Turkey, Uruguay, Venezuela and Yugoslavia, had made the
declarations provided for in articles 21 and 22 of the Convention.  In
addition, two States parties, namely the United Kingdom of Great
Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America, had
made the declaration provided for in article 21 only, thus bringing
the total number of declarations under that article to 39.  Under
article 21, a State party to the Convention may declare at any time
that it recognizes the competence of the Committee against Torture to
receive and consider communications to the effect that a State party
claims that another State party is not fulfilling its obligations
under the Convention.  Under article 22, a State party to the
Convention may declare at any time that it recognizes the competence
of the Committee to receive and consider communications from or on
behalf of individuals subject to its jurisdiction who claim to be
victims of a violation by a State party of the provisions of the
Convention.

7.   The provisions of articles 21 and 22 entered into force on
26 June 1987 in accordance with paragraph 2 of article 21 and
paragraph 8 of article 22.

8.   The fifth meeting of the States parties to the Convention was
convened by the Secretary-General at the United Nations Office at
Geneva on 29 November 1995 to elect five members of the Committee
against Torture to replace those whose terms of office were due to
expire on 31 December 1995.  In accordance with article 17 of the
Convention, five members of the Committee against Torture were elected
for a term of four years beginning 1 January 1996.  Accordingly, the
membership of the Committee for 1996-1997 is as follows:

     Mr. Peter Thomas Burns (Canada)

     Mr. Guibril Camara (Senegal)

     Mr. Alexis Dipanda Mouelle (Cameroon)

     Mr. Alejandro Gonza'lez Poblete (Chile)

     Ms. Julia Iliopoulos-Strangas (Greece)

     Mr. Georghios M. Pikis (Cyprus)

     Mr. Mukunda Regmi (Nepal)

     Mr. Bent Sorensen (Denmark)

     Mr. Alexander M. Yakovlev (Russian Federation)

     Mr. Bostjan M. Zupancic (Slovenia)

9.   The Committee against Torture held its thirteenth, fourteenth,
fifteenth and sixteenth sessions at the United Nations Office at
Geneva from 7 to 18 November 1994, from 24 April to 5 May 1995, from
13 to 24 November 1995 and from 30 April to 10 May 1996, respectively. 
In accordance with article 24 of the Convention, the Committee
submitted its annual reports, 3/ covering its activities at the
sessions referred to above, to the States parties and to the General
Assembly at its fiftieth and fifty-first sessions.


                                     Notes

     1/  Official Records of the General Assembly, Forty-ninth
Session, Supplement No. 44 (A/49/44).

     2/  Adopted by the Conference of States Parties to the Convention
on 9 September 1992 in accordance with article 29, paragraph 1, of the
Convention (CAT/SP/SR.4) and endorsed by the General Assembly in its
resolution 47/111 of 16 December 1992.

     3/  Official Records of the General Assembly, Fiftieth Session,
Supplement No. 44 (A/50/44); ibid., Fifty-first Session, Supplement
No. 44 (A/51/44).


                                     ANNEX

          List of States which have signed, ratified or acceded to  
          the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or
           Degrading Treatment or Punishment as at 3 September 1996 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                             Date of receipt
                                                            of the instrument
                                                             of retification,

                                                              accession or
     State                   Date of signature                 succession
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Afghanistan                  4 February 1985                1 April 1987
Albania                                                     11 May 1994 b/
Algeria a/                   26 November 1985               12 September 1989
Antigua and Barbuda                                         19 July 1993 b/
Argentina a/                 4 February 1985                24 September 1986

Armenia                                                     13 Sept. 1993 b/
Australia a/                 10 December 1985               8 August 1989
Austria a/                   14 March 1985                  29 July 1987
Azerbaijan                                                  16 August 1996 b/
Belarus                      19 December 1985               13 March 1987

Belgium                      4 February 1985    
Belize                                                      17 March 1986 b/
Benin                                                       12 March 1992 b/
Bolivia                      4 February 1985
Bosnia and Herzegovina                                      6 March 1992 c/

Brazil                       23 September 1985              28 September 1989
Bulgaria a/                  10 June 1986                   16 December 1986
Burundi                                                     18 Feb. 1993 b/
Cambodia                                                    15 October 1992 b/
Cameroon                                                    19 Dec. 1986 b/

Canada a/                    23 August 1985                 24 June 1987
Cape Verde                                                  4 June 1992 b/
Chad                                                        9 June 1995 b/
Chile                        23 September 1987              30 September 1988
China                        12 December 1986               4 October 1988

Colombia                     10 April 1985                  8 December 1987
Costa Rica                   4 February 1985                11 November 1993
Co^te d'Ivoire                                              18 Dec. 1995 b/
Croatia a/                                                  8 October 1991 c/
Cuba                         27 January 1986                17 May 1995

Cyprus a/                    9 October 1985                 18 July 1991
Czech Republic a/                                           1 January 1993 c/
Denmark a/                   4 February 1985                27 May 1987
Dominican Republic           4 February 1985
Ecuador a/                   4 February 1985                30 March 1988

Egypt                                                       25 June 1986 b/
El Salvador                                                 17 June 1996 b/
Estonia                                                     21 October 1991 b/
Ethiopia                                                    14 March 1994 b/
Finland a/                   4 February 1985                30 August 1989

France a/                    4 February 1985                18 February 1986
Gabon                        21 January 1986
Gambia                       23 October 1985
Georgia                                                     26 October 1994 b/
Germany                      13 October 1986                1 October 1990

Greece a/                    4 February 1985                6 October 1988
Guatemala                                                   5 January 1990 b/
Guinea                       30 May 1986                    10 October 1989
Guyana                       25 January 1988                19 May 1988
Hungary a/                   28 November 1986               15 April 1987

Iceland                      4 February 1985
Indonesia                    23 October 1985
Ireland                      28 September 1992
Israel                       22 October 1986                3 October 1991
Italy a/                     4 February 1985                12 January 1989

Jordan                                                      13 Nov. 1991 b/
Kuwait                                                      8 March 1996 b/
Latvia                                                      14 April 1992 b/
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya                                      16 May 1989 b/
Liechtenstein a/             27 June 1985                   2 November 1990

Lithuania                                                   1 February 1996 b/
Luxembourg a/                22 February 1985               29 September 1987
Malawi                                                      11 June 1996 b/
Malta a/                                                    13 Sept. 1990 b/
Mauritius                                                   9 December 1992 b/

Mexico                       18 March 1985                  23 January 1986
Monaco a/                                                   6 December 1991 b/
Morocco                      8 January 1986                 21 June 1993
Namibia                                                     28 Nov. 1994 b/
Nepal                                                       14 May 1991 b/

Netherlands a/               4 February 1985                21 December 1988
New Zealand a/               14 January 1986                10 December 1989
Nicaragua                    15 April 1985
Nigeria                      28 July 1988
Norway a/                    4 February 1985                9 July 1986

Panama                       22 February 1985               24 August 1987
Paraguay                     23 October 1989                12 March 1990
Peru                         29 May 1985                    7 July 1988
Philippines                                                 18 June 1986 b/
Poland a/                    13 January 1986                26 July 1989

Portugal a/                  4 February 1985                9 February 1989
Republic of Korea                                           9 January 1995 b/
Republic of Moldova                                         28 Nov. 1995 b/
Romania                                                     18 Dec. 1990 b/
Russian Federation a/        10 December 1985               3 March 1987

Senegal                      4 February 1985                21 August 1986
Seychelles                                                  5 May 1992 b/
Sierra Leone                 18 March 1985
Slovakia                                                    29 May 1993 b/
Slovenia a/                                                 16 July 1993 b/

Somalia                                                     24 January 1990 b/
South Africa                 29 January 1993
Spain a/                     4 February 1985                21 October 1987
Sri Lanka                                                   3 January 1994 b/
Sudan                        4 June 1986

Sweden a/                    4 February 1985                8 January 1986
Switzerland a/               4 February 1985                2 December 1986
Tajikistan                                                  11 January 1995 b/
The former Yugoslav
  Republic of Macedonia                                     12 Dec. 1994 c/
Togo a/                      25 March 1987                  18 November 1987

Tunisia a/                   26 August 1987                 23 September 1988
Turkey a/                    25 January 1988                2 August 1988
Uganda                                                      3 November 1986 b/
Ukraine                      27 February 1986               24 February 1987
United Kingdom of Great
  Britain and Northern
  Ireland d/                 15 March 1985                  8 December 1988

United States of
  America d/                 18 April 1988                  21 October 1994
Uruguay a/                   4 February 1985                24 October 1986
Uzbekistan                                                  28 Sept. 1995 b/
Venezuela a/                 15 February 1985               29 July 1991
Yemen                                                       5 November 1991 b/

Yugoslavia a/                18 April 1989                  10 September 1991
Zaire                                                       18 March 1996 b/


                                     Notes

     a/  Made the declaration under articles 21 and 22 of the Convention.

     b/  Accession.

     c/  Succession.

     d/  Made the declaration under article 21 of the Convention.


                                     -----

 

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