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Press Release
Adopts Concluding Observations on the Reports of Burkina Faso, Cyprus, Latvia, Niger, Portugal and Uzbekistan

The Committee against Torture this morning closed its sixty-eighth session after adopting concluding observations and recommendations on the reports of Burkina Faso, Cyprus, Latvia, Niger, Portugal and Uzbekistan on the implementation of the provisions of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

The Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on the reviewed countries will be available on the session’s webpage this afternoon.

Jens Modvig, Committee Chairperson, summing up the Committee’s work during the session, said that the Committee had adopted concluding observations on Burkina Faso, Cyprus, Latvia, Niger, Portugal and Uzbekistan. At its sixty-ninth session, to be held in April and May 2020, the Committee would be reviewing the reports of Cuba, Iceland, Kenya, Montenegro, United Arab Emirates and Uruguay. Country reviews would be preceded when relevant by confidential United Nations briefings, confidential briefings by national human rights institutions and national preventive mechanisms when such entities existed, and confidential briefings by non-governmental organizations.

Mr. Modvig said that also at the present session, the Committee undertook its activities on follow-up under articles 19 and 22 of the Convention and in relation to article 20 as well as reprisals. The Committee adopted its report on its inter-sessional working group on communications and in total adopted 20 communications. The Committee held its yearly joint meeting with the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture on coordination and cooperation related issues, including on countries reviewed by the Committee and visited by the Subcommittee. The Committee also held its yearly meeting with the three human rights regional courts on the extra-territoriality of treaties as well as on the ratione temporis competence.

The Committee discussed the outcome of the June 2019 treaty bodies chairpersons meeting, the 2020 treaty bodies review and related United Nations budget implications.

In conclusion, Mr. Modvig paid tribute to the two Committee members who were leaving, Felice Gaer and Abdelwahab Hani, for their essential contribution to the work of the Committee against Torture and therefore to the promotion and protection of human rights.

Ms. Gaer thanked the Chair and said it had been an honour serving the Committee, which she had joined in 2000. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet had told her that she was the longest-serving member ever, and had called her a champion for brining gender into the work of the Committee and for her meticulous questioning. Over the years, Ms. Gaer said it had been a challenge to address all issues and to try to prevent the growing scourge of torture. She thanked all her colleagues, and expressed her deep appreciation for the assistance of the secretariat. These were very difficult times for human rights defenders, but her commitment to these issues would not fade.

Mr. Hani thanked the Chair for his human and organizational qualities in steering the Committee’s work over the last four years, and also thanked his colleagues and the secretariat. He hoped that he had contributed to the work of the Committee. He had worked on General Comments, and had had the responsibility of being the Rapporteur on follow-up to concluding observations under article 19 of the Convention, during which he had looked at the situation in over 60 States parties to measure challenges on the ground and to assess the implementation of the Committee’s recommendations. He had also been involved in the consideration of initial reports for many countries and had worked with colleagues on countries from all regions of the world. He had worked with the secretariat on individual communications; on the strengthening of the treaty body system; and on supporting the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture. Mr. Hani called on all countries to support and encourage the Fund’s work.

Other Committee members thanked the Chair for his work, activity and contributions.

All the documents relating to the Committee’s work, including reports submitted by States parties, are available on the session’s webpage. The webcast of the Committee’s public meetings can be accessed at, while summaries of the public meetings held during the session can be read here.

The sixty-ninth session of the Committee against Torture will be held from 20 April to 15 May 2020, during which the Committee will consider the reports of Cuba, Iceland, Kenya, Montenegro, United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.

For use of the information media; not an official record