Non-Governmental Organisations

Working Group for the Abolition of Torture in Europe
(Human Rights Committee)

Concurrently with the adoption of the Recommendation on “Changes in the situation with regard to torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in the Council of Europe member states on 24 January 2013, the Conference of INGOs decided to establish a working group to follow up this text.

The first meeting of the Working Group for the Abolition of Torture in Europe was held on Wednesday 2 October 2013. This meeting was the opportunity to determine the working group’s operating procedures and objectives.

It was decided that the working group would meet 4 times a year and would be jointly co-ordinated by Michel Aguilar of the European Buddhist Union (EBU) and Sylvie Bukhari de Pontual of the International Federation of ACAT (Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture).

The following objectives were set:

    A. Advocacy and lobbying of CoE member states
    Prevent torture by ensuring respect for all human rights;
    Condemn all acts of torture;
    Meet the needs of victims of acts of torture.

    B. Work in co-operation with CoE institutions and bodies
    Ask CoE institutions (PACE, Committee of Ministers) and bodies (CPT, ECHR) to examine this project on a very regular basis;
    Encourage awareness-raising and training programmes.

    C. Work in co-operation with INGOs
    Step up their participation in the fight for the abolition of torture in Europe;
    Raise awareness among their national members and encourage them to work for the prevention of torture.

In order to start implementing these objectives, the working group will be holding a side event entitled “A Europe without torture: what is today’s reality?” on Wednesday 29 January 2014, from 1 to 2 pm, in Room 2 of the Palais de l’Europe. The purpose of this awareness-raising event is to bring together and mobilise as many people as possible to eradicate the continuing scourge of torture in Europe.