China Review: Committee Against Torture 2008

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Submission to the 41st session of the UN Committee against Torture - China Fourth Periodic Review

Human Rights Watch, Harm Reduction International and Asia Catalyst have written to the UN Committee against Torture to raise concerns about possible cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of people who use drugs in forced detoxification and re-education through labour centres.

The submission was prepared ahead of the Committee’s meeting with China in November to discuss the country’s fourth periodic report on its implementation of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT). The convention was ratified by China twenty years ago, in October 1988.

Recognising China’s continued engagement with the Committee against Torture and positive developments in the implementation of CAT, the submission highlights the issues of arbitrary and administrative detention in detoxification and re-education through labour centres, and abusive drug treatment practices and denial of HIV prevention, treatment and care to people who use detained in those centres as areas of concern in the context of the Convention.

This process and the Human Rights Watch, Harm Reduction International and Asia Catalyst submission coincide with the launch today of ‘Dignity and Justice for Detainees’ week, by at the UN the High Commissioner for Human Rights and supported by 13 UN human rights mandate holders.

The submission is based on in-depth interviews by Human Rights Watch with drug users who had been detained in forced detoxification and/or re-education centres; NGO workers, health care workers, and security officials with experience in forced detoxification and/or re-education through labour centres; government officials from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and provincial and city health departments; and medical staff at methadone and AIDS clinics during research missions in 2007 in Guangxi Province (publication forthcoming) and in 2002 and 2003 in Yunnan Province (published in “Locked Doors: The Human Rights of People Living with HIV/AIDS in China

China’s fourth periodic report, the Committee’s initial response (List of Issues) and NGO submissions may be accessed at the website of the Committee against Torture.

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