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[CAT] FIACAT and ACAT Belgium alternative report to the second periodic report of Belgium

November 2008

Full report available in french

On June 25, 1999, Belgium ratified the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Pursuant to Article 19 of this text, Belgium recognized the competency of the Committee Against Torture (CAT), which periodically hears from signatory states on their application of the Convention.

On August 14, 2007, the Belgian government published its second periodic report for examination at the 41st session of CAT.

FIACAT has the honor of bringing the following concerns to the attention of the United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT). The concerns address Belgium’s implementation of the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

This report will be presented on the occasion of the 41st session of the Committee Against Torture that will be held in Geneva November 3-21, 2008. During this session Belgium’s second periodic report will be examined. The report was due in 2004.

This alternative report was prepared through close collaboration with the Francophone and Flemmish brances of ACAT Belgium, both members of the FIACAT network.

This study is divided into two parts:

- The first analyses, article by article, Belgium’s implementation of the Convention Against Torture at the national level.
- The report concludes with a series of FIACAT’s recommendations to the Committee Against Torture.

Two observations can be made:

- On the one hand, legislation remains incomplete and at times contrary to the principles contained in the Convention, despite CAT’s 2003 recommendations following Belgium’s initial report. This allows inhuman an degrading treatment to take place.
- On the other hand, despite positive advances put forward by the government, in practice, the reality does not follow the texts currently in force.

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