The time has come again to start preparations for the next review of the United States by the UN Committee Against Torture (CAT). As you may recall, the last review of the United States by the Committee took place in November 2014, and the Committee issued the following recommendations (called Concluding Observations) to the United States.
We have just learned that the Committee will be adopting a List of Issues Prior to Reporting (LOIPR) for the next U.S. review at the end of the year. The list of issues serves as a guide for the information that the U.S. Government will be asked to provide in its official report, as well as for the actual review which will take place in 2018. The Committee will accept alternative reports from civil society to inform the list of issues prior to reporting. We are sending this email to provide you with information to submit alternative reports. Unfortunately, time is of the essence here. The alternative reports for the list of issues are due on June 27th!
Why is the LOIPR important?
To put it bluntly, if the Committee doesn’t ask it, the US doesn’t have to answer it. Several important issues were not included in the last LOIPR, which may have made it more difficult for those issues to be raised by the Committee in its concluding observations. We don’t want that to happen again.
So what do we have to do?
We need to suggest questions to the Committee, and we need to do it by June 27th. These are, in effect, preliminary shadow reports. They would include a brief description of the issue (and why it’s important), and then a proposed question. Take a look one example from a 2013 report from OMCT for the CAT’s review of Greece at the end of this email (and the full report is also attached).
The UN Secretariat for the Committee Against Torture encourages NGOs to coordinate their information and reports, and to submit consolidated reports with factual, reliable, precise, and clear information. The report must identify the submitting NGO, as anonymous information is not accepted, and be drafted in a non-abusive language. The information should not contain names of victims except if related to public cases or if the consent of the victims or their families is obtained.
(For more information, please see the attached helpful guide created by the Association on the Prevention of Torture or look at the OMCT's 2013 Report for CAT's Review of Greece.)
How do I submit the shadow reports?
For more information, please see http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CAT/Pages/ReportingProcedures.aspx
All the Shadow Reports Submitted can be found here