States urged to end trauma of forcible returns

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Chairperson of the UN Committee Against Torture, Claudio Grossman. Photo: UN

The issue of states which refuse to shelter vulnerable refugees or migrants came under the UN spotlight at a high-level human rights hearing on Monday.

The practice, which is known as refoulement, is just one of several topics up for discussion by the UN Committee Against Torture (CAT), which meets in Geneva.

Daniel Johnson has more.

At the opening of the Committee Against Torture's latest session, the UN's human rights office issued a reminder that it was vital for states to help people fleeing torture.

The act of forcibly returning people who are at risk is known as refoulement, and it's due to be debated by the committee in coming weeks.

The UN human rights office said vulnerable people should be "immediately identified" and offered state protection.

This would avoid exposing them to further trauma, ill-treatment or result in them being forcibly returned to places where their lives are at risk.

As part of its rolling mandate, the UN committee is also set to examine how international human rights law is applied in three countries: Slovakia, Switzerland and Iraq, which is up before the committee for the first time.

The country assessments are guided by the Convention Against Torture, as well as the latest changes to human rights law on the treatment of prisoners, which are known as the Mandela Rules.

These include the banning of indefinite solitary confinement and reductions to prisoners' food or drinking water allocations.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration: 0'57"


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