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UN Committee against Torture: Focus on Botswana, Nicaragua, Palestine, United Arab Emirates

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People who have endured the ordeal of torture have an enforceable right to fair and adequate compensation.

The UN Committee against Torture on Friday concluded its current session by releasing findings on Botswana, Nicaragua, the State of Palestine and the United Arab Emirates 

The findings highlighted positive aspects of each country’s implementation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, as well as concerns and recommendations. 

Botswana and the Death Penalty 

The committee raised serious concerns over excessive and inhuman force concerning the use of the death penalty in Botswana. 

One aspect of Botswanan policy deemed to be out of step with the Convention is the practice of not providing advance notice of execution to the individuals on death row or their families. 

The Committee was further alarmed that hangings were used in executions and that the deceased were not handed over to family for burial. 

The Committee urged Botswana to commute all death sentences and to establish a moratorium on the death penalty, with a view to abolishing it, while ensuring that detention conditions for condemned prisoners do not constitute cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. 

Moreover, The Committee expressed specific concerns that Botswana has yet to define torture as a specific offence and advises the establishment of a definition in line with convention guidelines. 

Nicaragua’s Treatment of Detainees 

The Committee has become concerned about the use of lethal force, arbitrary detentions, acts of torture and ill-treatment of protesters in Nicaragua, it said in a press release, specifically highlighting enforced disappearances by the National Police, plainclothes agents and other actors. 

The Committee has urged Nicaragua to carry out prompt and independent investigations into these acts and provide appropriate redress to victims in order to comply with international safeguards. 

It also requested that Nicaragua guarantee legal safeguards for all detainees, cease all political repression and violence against human rights defenders, journalists and political opposition leaders, and release those arbitrarily detained. 

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Alleged torture of Palestinian detainees  

The Committee condemned causalities caused by the excessive use of force in Palestine. Particularly they condemn the use of lethal weapons by security forces and unidentified armed elements. 

One especially noteworthy case highlighted, was the arrest, beating and killing, allegedly by Hebron preventative security forces, of Nizar Banat, in June 2021.  

In response to Mr. Banat’s case, the Committee has requested that the State of Palestine effectively investigate all allegations relating to the excessive use of force and ensure that all perpetrators are prosecuted and victims fully compensated. 

It also recommended that the State party guarantee that all officers can be effectively identified at all times, to ensure individual accountability. 

UAE abuses abroad   

Concerning the involvement of the UAE in the on-going conflict in Yemen and its anti-terrorism efforts, the Committee expressed concerns over allegations of torture and ill-treatment by the State party’s regular armed forces, state security agencies, and related non-State armed groups. 

The Committee placed a special onus on the investigation and prosecution of offences of torture and ill-treatment in these situations, and called for a viable pathway for victims to seek justice, redress and rehabilitation. 

The Committee was also concerned about the continued practice of female genital mutilation in the UAE and the lack of legislation criminalizing it, it said.  

It called upon the State party to strengthen its efforts to stamp out gender-based violence and harmful practices by introducing new legislation and awareness-raising campaigns. 

The above findings, officially known as the Concluding Observations, are now available online on the session page. 

The Committee will hold its next session from 31 October to 25 November to review Australia, Chad, El Salvador, Malawi, Somalia and Uganda. 

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