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HRC31: Item 3 General Debate

HRC31: Denmark delivers statement on behalf of countries behind Convention against Torture Initiative: Celebrating international progress towards ratification and implementation of the UN Convention against Torture


31st Session – Item 3 General Debate

Statement by Denmark on behalf of the Convention against Torture Initiative

Thank you, Mr. President,
I have the pleasure of speaking on behalf of the Governments of Chile, Denmark, Ghana, Indonesia and Morocco as initiators of the Convention against Torture Initiative.
Mr. President,
Two years ago, we gave ourselves a decade to achieve universal ratification and to improve implementation of the UN Convention against Torture. We are now down to eight years to achieve this goal and we still firmly believe it can be done.
Our strategy remains simple: We will – State to State – assist and inspire each other to achieve incremental, yet tangible progress.
The CTI has progressed well over the past year: we have had impactful events here in Geneva, in New York, in Bali, Warsaw, San Jose and Marrakesh on issues related to torture prevention and ratification. These events have confirmed that there are indeed many good State practices from which other States can benefit, and the CTI is committed to being a forum in which such practices can be shared.
We also released a Ratification Tool for the Convention against Torture for States, prepared in collaboration with the Association for the Prevention of Torture.

Mr. President,
CTI aims to highlight inspirational progress rather than pointing to shortcomings. Allow us therefore to draw the Council’s attention to some of the progress on ratification made by individual States over the past year, which may serve as an inspiration.
We commend South Sudan for acceding to the Convention and its optional protocol in 2015 bringing the number of States parties to 158. We furthermore welcome the signature of Brunei Darussalam and Fiji. 

We commend San Marino for lodging a declaration recognizing the competence of the Committee against Torture   in accordance with Articles 21 and 22 of the Convention.
We commend ongoing efforts by Myanmar and Oman to implement UPR recommendations to ratify the Convention. We commend Grenada, Marshall Islands and Sao Tome and Principe for accepting UPR recommendations to intensify efforts to ratify the Convention. CTI looks forward to cooperating and supporting them, and other States, in these endeavors.

The CTI would also like to congratulate Belize and Rwanda who are the newest States parties to OPCAT, bringing the number of States parties to 80.  We also commend Andorra, Belgium, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Libya and Malawi for accepting UPR recommendations to intensify efforts to ratify the Optional Protocol. 
We would also like to extend our thanks to the 32 UN Member States who have so far joined the Group of Friends of the CTI.  We are grateful for the support provided already by many of you, including through participation in the many regional CTI events. We reiterate our invitation to all UN Member States to join the Group of Friends of the CTI.
We would also like to recognize the range of NGOs and leading UN experts that have joined the Friends’ group.

Finally, Mr. President, allow us to inform the Council that we have just released our Ratification and Implementation Strategy for 2016-17. We are hopeful that at least 3 new States will ratify the UNCAT in 2016 and a further five States will join in 2017, building a positive momentum for universal ratification by 2024. We strongly encourage States that have not yet taken steps towards ratification of the UN Convention against Torture to join our efforts and consider ratification. The CTI stands ready to support any State on a bilateral basis wishing to advance on this issue.
I thank you, Mr. President

 *Argentina, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Egypt, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Italy, Macedonia (former Yugoslav Republic of), Moldova, Montenegro, Myanmar, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Sierra Leone, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, United Kingdom, Uruguay, USA.