[Human Rights] HRC / 22nd Session, Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Torture and the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders
Austria warmly thanks the Special Rapporteur on Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment for his work. We thank him for his latest report exploring mistreatment in health-care settings. We concur with his analysis that the application of the torture framework to abuses in health-care settings can help to make clear that there can be neither justification nor impunity for the violation of the absolute and non-derogable prohibition of torture. We also appreciate his focus on groups that are marginalized in many countries and call on all states to intensify their efforts to prevent ill treatment of these groups.
The Rapporteur mentions that the definition of torture is subject to reassessment in the jurisprudence of regional courts. What other cases could qualify as torture or CIDTP in this respect? What about corporal punishment in schools for example? At the same time, we must not lose the focus that torture, for whatever reason and in whatever circumstances, is forbidden under international law, and that all perpetrators must be brought to justice, and victims compensated. We would also like to hear about abuses in pre-trial detention, and effective measures to curb them.
Austria would also like to express its gratitude to the Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Defenders for her work and report, which focuses on the role of national human rights institutions in the protection of human rights defenders. We share her assessment that robust mandates for NHRIs with competence to receive complaints from individuals and associations are required. We also thank her for her detailed recommendations in this regard, which we will share with our own NHRI.
NHRIs can be a valuable complement to an effective and independent judiciary. Often, it is already the respective national legislative framework, which provides for the pretext for hindering the work of HRDs. It is therefore of utmost importance that we also strengthen our response to all these cases, when people whose sole objective is to defend the human rights of others are exposed to harassment, or worse.
I thank you.