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Abstract from

Implementing Human Rights in Closed Environments Through the United Nations Convention Against Torture

Claudio Grossman is a Professor of Law and Dean of American University Washington College of Law (WCL), and the Raymond Geraldson Scholar for International and Humanitarian Law.

Closed environments pose a major challenge to the full and effective implementation of human rights norms and conventions. However, many conventions contain mechanisms that can be used to further advance implementation of human rights in those closed environments. The United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (the Convention) has several mechanisms in place that play an important role in enforcing and implementing human rights obligations. Along with the creation of a supervisory organ, the Committee against Torture (the Committee or CAT), the Convention provides a framework for: State Party reporting and concluding observations (COBs) under art 19; state inquiries under art 20; interstate communications under art 21; and individual communications under art 22. These mechanisms can provide assistance as the international community works to overcome the challenges posed by implementing human rights in closed environments. This article provides a brief description of the Committee against Torture and its techniques of supervision and follow-up, seeking to identify this treaty body’s contributions to implementing human rights in closed environments.

(2014) Vol 31 Law in Context p125

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