The Committee Against Torture tackles violence against women: A conceptual and political journey
Keywords:violence against women, UN convention against torture, torture, state responsibility, history of torture, torture journal
In this article, we will examine how the official treaty monitoring body, the Committee against Torture, demonstrated that violence
against women was indeed a serious human rights problem that fell squarely within the preview of the Convention against Torture.
Because States parties to the Convention are required to report about their compliance with the Convention routinely, the Committee developed a substantial database on national practices and policies. In the course of examining these periodic reports of States parties, and then consolidating findings and conclusions
into two general comments, the UN Committee Against Torture integrated violence against women in its jurisprudence on
torture and ill-treatment by showing that existing provisions could and did incorporate the obligation to protect against and provide
redress for torture and ill-treatment directed against women. Initiatives to raise these issues show how the Committee “placed the range of gender violence—from public to private – squarely within the frame of the Torture Convention” (Copelon, 2008, 242). The article will recall how the adoption of two general comments
to the Convention firmly integrated gender-based violence as a subject of concern under the Convention: General comment no
2 (2008) addressed Article 2 on the State obligation to prevent torture and ill-treatment and General comment no 3 (2012) focused
on Article 14 which concerns the obligation to provide redress to victims of torture. Both authors have been members of the Committee during these important years, and it is our aim to provide an overview of the significant processes and decisions taken by the CAT that resulted in the strengthening of the Committee’s inclusiveness and comprehensiveness in the struggle to prevent torture. Finally, we will reflect on some future challenges
faced by main anti-torture body/ies as part of global efforts to fight violence against women.
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