I.

Introduction
1. The Alkarama Foundation, Amnesty International, the Association for the Prevention of Torture
(APT), DIGNITY - Danish Institute Against Torture, the International Federation of Action by
Christians for the Abolition of Torture (FIACAT), the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), the
International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT), the World Organisation Against
Torture (OMCT) and the Redress Trust (REDRESS) provide these comments to the Committee on the
draft revised General Comment No. 1 (2017) on the implementation of article 3 of the Convention in
the context of article 22, adopted by the Committee on 6 December 2016 (CAT/C/60/R.2, 2 February
2017 referred to as the “draft” or the “draft General Comment”). (Information regarding the
organizations making this submission is available in Appendix 1.)
2. We welcome the decision by the Committee against Torture (“the Committee” or “this Committee” or
“CAT”) to revise its General Comment No. 1 on article 3 of the Convention against Torture and Other
Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (“the Convention” or “UNCAT”). We
consider that a revised General Comment will be a critically important tool for States parties in
implementing Article 3 by providing guidance on the full scope of their obligations in relation to the
prohibition of refoulement under the Convention. The topic of this General Comment is of particular
relevance to the work of our organisations and we welcome the Committee’s decision to hold a General
Discussion on the draft revised General Comment as well as seeking written contributions.
3. We note that in this joint submission we have proposed textual changes under the heading
“Recommended textual change/addition” in each section and sub-section. Proposed additional text is
formatted in bold. Proposed deletions are identified with a “strikethrough”.

II.

Detailed comments on specific sections and paragraphs of the draft

a) Section I: Introduction, paragraphs 1-3
4. We welcome the fact that the draft is significantly more ambitious, both in content and scope, than a
mere revision of the Committee’s original General Comment No. 1 of 1997. Rather than being limited
to issues relating to Article 22, it covers the substance of Article 3 extensively, including States parties’
obligations under it. Since the prohibition of refoulement binds all States parties – whether or not they
have made a declaration under Article 22 recognizing the competence of the Committee to receive
individual communications – we urge the Committee to emphasize that at least sections I. to IX.
inclusive, of the present draft are of general application, and identify measures required for the
effective implementation of the prohibition of refoulement by all States parties. Indeed, even section
X. – seeking to exclusively address individual communications under Article 22 – discusses the
substance of Article 3 as a whole at length.
5. We further recommend that the General Comment should expressly identify that this Committee’s: a)
highly regarded Concluding Observations and recommendations following its review of States parties’
reports under Article 19; b) decisions on individual communications; and c) previous General
Comments, represent authoritative sources of the standards set out in the present General Comment.
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AI Index: IOR 40/6040/2017

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