The convention and the committee against torture: a complementary protection regime for refugees

Gorlick, B
July 1999
International Journal of Refugee Law;Summer99, Vol. 11 Issue 3, p479
Academic Journal
Many unsuccessful asylum seekers petition international human rights mechanisms for alternative protection against return to their countries of origin on the basis that they will be subject to torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. This article examines the important role taken by the Committee against Torture in protecting refugee rights and upholding the principle of non-refoulement. the Committee's ‘case law’ with respect to asylum seekers is analysed, and its practice in drawing attention to the plight of asylum seekers when examining State party reports is also reviewed. The Committee's work has contributed positively to developing human rights standards benefiting asylum seekers and refugees. It has been able to prevent the refoulement in individual cases and its State party reporting procedure has prompted several States to re-examine their laws and practices relating to refugee protection. The trend for rejected asylum seekers to have recourse to the Committee is not free of concern, however, and this article also highlights some problems that may arise if the Committee continues to be used as a vehicle for refugee protection.


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