Egypt has joined the Group of Friends of the Convention Against Torture Initiative, “an informal international forum to strengthen global efforts to eliminate the crime of torture”.
The group, established earlier this year by the governments of Denmark, Chile, Ghana, Indonesia and Morocco, aims to “promote technical advice, support and cooperation among State-parties as well as non-State parties to the Convention – in order to help States overcome technical and capacity-related obstacles to ratification and implementation of the Convention,” according to the group’s website.
Egypt announced its accession to the group on Saturday in a foreign ministry statement, adding that Egypt was the “first Arab, Islamic and African” country to ratify the Convention against Torture in 1986.
Calls for Egypt to investigate claims of torture and to ban the use of torture in interrogations were among the 300 recommendations handed to Egypt at a United Nations review of the human rights situation in Egypt at the start of November.
In June the El-Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture documented 40 cases of torture in detention facilities and four cases in which the victims of torture died between 30 June 2013 and 31 May 2014.
Denmark, Chile, Ghana, Indonesia, Morocco, Brazil, Costa Rica, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, the United Kingdom, Uruguay, and now Egypt are members of the CTI Group of Friends. Apart from governments, the group is also open to civil society organisations and experts “sharing the vision and the ambition of the CTI”.
Egypt’s ambassador in Geneva Amr Ramadan stressed that this accession is a “reflection of the particular commitment of the Egyptian government to eliminate the crime of torture and hold perpetrators accountable”.