11th May, 2012
Syria’s authorities have refused to submit a report on torture in the country to a United Nations committee scheduled to discuss the situation there next week, its secretary said on Friday.
The Committee Against Torture monitors the implementation of the UN’s anti-torture convention by state parties and is currently meeting in Geneva.
“There is no assurance that a delegation (from Syria) will come but we have been informed that no report would be submitted,” committee secretary Joao Nataf told AFP in an email.
He added that the meeting would take place on Wednesday as scheduled.
The Committee Against Torture is holding its 48th session from May 7 to June 1 when it will focus on a number of countries including Canada, Cuba and Syria.
All states party to the convention are required to submit regular reports to the panel of 10 independent experts which then makes recommendations.
In November last year chairman Claudio Grossman wrote to the Syrian authorities highlighting the committee’s concern over reports of the spread of torture in the country where a bloody crackdown on protesters was unleashed in March 2011.
Grossman asked Damascus to provide a special report stating the measures being taken to ensure its obligations under the Convention Against Torture were being fulfilled.
Since the crackdown observers estimate more than 12,000 people have died, including more than 900 since an April 12 truce went into effect.
On Tuesday UN-Arab League envoy and broker of the peace plan Kofi Annan told the UN Security Council of his fears that torture, mass arrests and other human rights violations were intensifying in Syria.