Canada’s OPCAT Progress To Come Under Renewed UN Scrutiny

With just a few days to spare before the guillotine falls, the Canada OPCAT Project today submitted its shadow-briefing paper to the United Nations Committee against Torture in Geneva in anticipation of its examination of Canada in late November 2018.

In its short paper the Canada OPCAT Project focuses exclusively on the state of ratification of the OPCAT in the country as an issue. In doing so, it advances various suggested questions which the UN Committee against Torture may wish to put to the Canadian delegation. For the more eager readers, the Canada OPCAT Project’s shadow report can be downloaded in full at the bottom of this page.

The UN Committee against Torture is timetabled to examine Canada at 10 am Geneva-time (4 am ET) on 21 November, while Canada’s replies to the UN Committee of experts will be heard from 3 pm onwards (9 am ET) on 22 November. The Committee’s provisional agenda and program of work are available here, where all submitted shadow papers and reports will be listed in due course (the submission deadline for which is 15 October).

Palais Wilson

Palais Wilson, Geneva, Switzerland by CCPR_Centre.

The proposed questions highlighted in the Canada OPCAT Project’s briefing include the following:

  • As stated in paragraph 5 of Canada’s seventh periodic report, could the delegation please detail any ‘extensive consultations’ which Canada has so far undertaken on the question of the ratification of the OPCAT?
  • Could the delegation cite specific examples of consultation with Canadian civil society in this same regard? If not, when does Canada envisage conducting in-depth consultations with civil society?
  • Could the delegation provide a more detailed time-line and end-date for the completion of the process of considering the ratification of the OPCAT?
  • Could the Canadian delegation please explain the specific roles allotted to the Department of Justice and Global Affairs Canada respectively in relation to the OPCAT ratification process?
  • Is the Department of Justice planning to make public its legal analysis on Canada’s accession to the OPCAT? If not, could the Canadian delegation please specify why this information should not be placed in the public domain (in an non-redacted format) for the purposes of discussion?
  • Has Canada considered contacting the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture with a view to seeking its advice on the ratification of the OPCAT?

It is therefore hoped that the two assigned Co-Rapporteurs for Canada as well as the other eight UN Committee members will closely quiz the Canadian delegation about Canada’s repeatedly stated intention to consider the ratification of the OPCAT and that they will try to seek concrete answers to at least some of the above unanswered questions.

Palais Wilson

UN Conference Room at Palais Wilson, Geneva by Niklas Plutte (2010).

As noted on previous occasions on this website, written civil society contributions to the examination of Canada’s seventh periodic report under the UN Convention against Torture come as highly welcome. Such alternative information infinitely helps support the crucial work of the UN Committee members as they subject the track-records of countries to much-needed international scrutiny.

Canada will be one of six countries whose periodic reports will be examined by the UN Committee against Torture in Geneva from 12 November to 7 December. The other States Parties include Guatemala, Maldives, Netherlands, Peru and Vietnam. A link to the live broadcast of the UN Committee’s examination of Canada on 21-22 November will be posted on this website in the coming weeks.

Persons interested in receiving a copy of the Canada OPCAT Project’s full submission to the UN Committee against Torture can download the document immediately below or contact the website directly for an emailed copy.

COPCAT Project Shadow Briefing Paper to UNCAT 12 October 2018