Committee Against Torture, session 60 (2017)

Recommendations/observations on corporal punishment in the Committee Against Torture's concluding observations to states examined in session 60 (18 April – 12 May 2017)

Afghanistan

(12 June 2017, CAT/C/AFG/CO/2, Concluding observations on second report, paras. 21, 23, 24, 39 and 40)

“While noting the State party’s efforts to combat non-State armed insurgency and terrorist groups, the Committee deplores the presence of a wide range of armed groups, including the Taliban, Da’esh and Hizb-i Islami, perpetrating severe human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killing and corporal punishment, such as flogging and stoning. The Committee is concerned by the numerous reports documenting the increase of propaganda promoting violent extremism in Afghanistan, including in some educational institutions, fostering the adhesion and support of part of the Afghan population to the Taliban. It also deplores the deliberate attacks on civilians perpetrated by those groups, causing a large number of deaths and injuries among civilians, as indicated in the reports of UNAMA and the most recent report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan (A/HRC/34/41) (arts. 2, 4 and 12-14).”

“While welcoming the delegation’s affirmations that the new Law on the Prohibition of Torture now includes a definition of torture that is identical with article 1 of the Convention, the Committee remains concerned that the legislation is not yet fully harmonized with the Convention, notably with regard to the lenient penalties, such as midterm sentences ranging from 3 to 5 years’ imprisonment for the crime of torture under the Penal Code. The Committee furthermore deplores:

(a)The absence of clear legal provisions ensuring that other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment are also clearly prohibited and criminalized as separate offences;

(b)The absence of legal provisions ensuring that victims have access to reporting mechanisms without fear of intimidation or reprisals from authorities;

(c)That the Penal Code does not clearly prohibit corporal punishment, including flogging, amputation of limbs and stoning, practices which amount to torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (arts. 1, 2 and 4).

“The Committee requests the State party:

(a) To ensure that the new Law on the Prohibition of Torture including a definition of torture that covers all the elements contained in article 1 of the Convention is properly enforced under its jurisdiction;

(b) To ensure that penalties for torture and statutory limitations are commensurate with the gravity of the crime;

(c) To amend its legislation in order to prohibit and establish other acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment as separate offences;

(d) To legally ensure that victims have access to reporting mechanisms of which they may avail themselves without fear of intimidation or reprisals from authorities;

(e) To amend its legislation in order to clearly prohibit all forms of corporal punishment, as they amount to torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, in violation of the Convention.”

“While taking note of the State party’s affirmations that informal parallel judicial mechanisms, in particular jirga courts, may only hear civil cases and commending that the Government strives to build the capacity of ordinary courts in rural areas to reduce the number of cases referred to jirga courts or any other parallel justice system, the Committee is seriously concerned by the sentences still imposed by jirga courts and other forms of dispute resolution systems on the Afghan population, in particular on women, notably for so-called “moral crimes”, including the death sentence and corporal punishment, that amount to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (arts. 2, 4 and 16).

“The State party should:

(a) Set up an effective system for monitoring and revising decisions of jirga courts in order to ensure that State officials do not recognize or carry out the judgments of parallel judicial mechanisms that exculpate perpetrators from crimes committed in the name of so-called “ honour ”, that call for women to be subjected to corporal punishment or that are otherwise inconsistent with the State party’s obligations under the Convention”

Bahrain

(29 May 2017, CAT/C/BHR/CO/2-3, Concluding observations on second/third report, paras. 36 and 37)

“The Committee is concerned at reports that corporal punishment of children is still permitted in the home, in alternative care and day-care settings and in penal institutions (arts. 2, 4 and 16).

“The State party should enact legislation to explicitly and clearly prohibit corporal punishment in all settings.”

Pakistan

(1 June 2017, CAT/C/PAK/CO/1, Concluding observations on initial report, paras. 30, 31, 38 and 39)

“While noting the adoption of the Anti-Rape Laws (Criminal Amendment Bill), 2016 and the Anti-Honour Killing Law (Criminal Amendment Bill) and the State party’s commitment to addressing those crimes, the Committee is concerned about the reportedly high level of violence against women in the State party, which includes murder, rape, acid crimes, kidnappings, domestic violence and “honour killings”. It is also concerned about the extremely low conviction rates for those crimes, and at reports that parallel justice systems (known as panchayats or jirgas), have sentenced women to violent punishment or even death, including stoning, and have provided lenient punishments for perpetrators of “honour crimes” and in other cases of serious gender-based violence (arts. 2, 14 and 16).

“The Committee urges the State party to:

(c) Further strengthen its efforts to invalidate and ensure that State officials do not recognize or carry out judgments of parallel justice mechanisms or alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, such as panchayats or jirgas, that exculpate perpetrators of crimes committed in the name of “honour”, that call for women to be subject to corporal punishment, or that are otherwise inconsistent with the State party’s obligations under the Convention”

“While noting the information provided by the State party’s delegation that they are not implemented in practice, the Committee is concerned that provisions in the State party’s laws allow for the imposition of corporal punishment, including whipping, amputation and stoning (art. 16).

“The State party should take the necessary legislative measures to eradicate and explicitly prohibit all forms of corporal punishment in all settings, as they amount to torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, in violation of the Convention.”

Republic of Korea

(30 May 2017, CAT/C/KOR/CO/3-5, Concluding observations on third/fifth report, paras. 33 and 34)

“The Committee is concerned that corporal punishment of children remains permitted in the home, in schools and in alternative care and day-care settings, in particular in orphanages and child welfare facilities, especially outside the capital city (arts. 2, 4 and 16).

“The State party should amend and enact legislation so as to explicitly and clearly prohibit corporal punishment in all settings, including orphanages and child welfare facilities, in all parts of the country, and take the measures necessary to prevent such punishment.”

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