2019 elections to the United Nations Committee against Torture

In October 2019, elections to the UN Committee against Torture will take place as the term of five Committee members ends on 31 December 2019.

REDRESS and other human rights NGOs are encouraging States parties to consider the key criteria highlighted by the organisations here for the selection of candidates to this election.

Amnesty International, the Association for the Prevention of Torture and the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims with support from the International Commission of Jurists, REDRESS, FIACAT, TB-Net and the World Organization against Torture are part of this initiative.

The 10-member Committee against Torture, one of the smallest of the UN human rights treaty bodies, has a significant responsibility to provide guidance to States parties on the implementation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

One key determinant of the effectiveness of the Committee, as with all the UN treaty bodies, is the quality, independence, impartiality and diversity of its membership. The organisations have stated that open, transparent and competitive national processes for selecting treaty body candidates contribute to better treaty body membership.

The organisations are urging State parties to the Convention to consider setting up an open, transparent and competitive national processes to select the most suitable candidate, in accordance with the highest membership criteria. Key elements of such a process should include:

• Issuing an open and widely shared call for applications and expressions of interest based on a job description.
• Establishing a panel composed by government representatives and independent national and/or international human rights experts to review the applications, shortlist the candidates and carry out interviews.
• Referring the selected candidate to the competent government authority for approval and formal nomination.

Once nominations have formally closed, the organisations will circulate a questionnaire to all nominees, to offer them the opportunity to present their skills, experience, expertise, intended contribution to the Committee’s work and availability to serve. The responses to those questionnaires will be made public on www.untbelections.org.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe.