Our Work: Conventions and International Mechanisms: Convention Against Torture, the CAT Committee and Torture-Related Issues

  • June 21, 2019 WEI, Federation for Women and Family Planning, ONE.pl and independent researchers Agnieszka Król and Agnieszka Wołowicz Submission to the Committee Against Torture for its Review of Poland

    This submission to the Committee against Torture (CAT Committee), drafted by WEI, the Federation for Women and Family Planning, ONE.pl and independent researchers Agnieszka Król and Agnieszka Wołowicz, highlights two reproductive rights violations of particular concern in Poland: the lack of access to safe and legal abortion for all women and the forced and coerced sterilization of women and girls with disabilities.  In Part I, the submission outlines the barriers faced by women to accessing safe and legal abortion, including conscience-based refusals and the lack of an effective appeals procedure to challenge a doctor's decision to deny a woman a legal abortion.  It then offers recommendations for the CAT Committee to consider during its review of Poland to address these concerns.  Part II of the submission focuses on the forced sterilization of women and girls with disabilities and draws upon recent qualitative research by two Polish academics, which shows that women with disabilities are subject to forced or coerced sterilization both within and outside institutional settings in Poland. After briefly summarizing the key medical and international human rights standards on sterilization, the submission concludes by offering several recommendations for the CAT Committee to consider during its review of Poland.

    Poland CAT Committee 21 June 2019 FINAL.pdf

    Poland CAT Committee 21 June 2019 FINAL.docx
  • February, 2013 The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Méndez, presented his report to the United Nations on 1 February 2013, condemning the segregation and abuse of people with disabilities as violations of the UN Convention Against Torture… The conceptualization of abuses in health-care settings as torture or ill-treatment is a relatively recent phenomenon.”  the Special Rapporteur embraces this ongoing paradigm shift, which increasingly encompasses various forms of abuse in health-care settings within the discourse on torture. Read the Report (PDF)

  • PDF: Janet E. Lord, Shared Understanding or Consensus-Masked Disagreement? The Anti-Torture Framework in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 33 Loy. L.A. Int'l & Comp. L. Rev. 27 (2010)
    Original available at Loyola Marymount University and Loyola Law School.
  • September, 2010 Manfred Nowak, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, issued the following powerful statement on acid attacks as torture in Geneva at a Side Event on 15 September 2010, at a Side Event in Geneva. “In the case of women victims of acid attacks, they are faced both by physical challenges, that may require long term surgical treatment, as well as by psychological challenges, which require long-term intervention from counsellors at each stage of the physical recovery.  It is crucial to interpret the torture protection framework in the light of a wide range of human rights guarantees, in particular the set of rules that has developed to combat violence against women, which can provide valuable insights into the particular challenges posed by such type of violence as well as the specific needs of the victims.
    When viewed through the prism of the anti-torture framework, the fight to end violence against women can be strengthened and provided with a broader scope of prevention, protection, justice and reparation for women.  Read the entire statement (PDF)



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