News 17 May 2016
Committee against Torture calls on France to ensure identification and rehabilitation for torture victims seeking asylum

The UN Committee against Torture is calling on France to improve its procedures for identifying torture victims among asylum seekers and refugees and to ensure that they receive rehabilitation and adequate support in the asylum process.

The recommendations follow a two-day hearing in Geneva where the Committee evaluated efforts made by France to implement the UN Convention against Torture. As part of the hearings, IRCT member Parcour d’Exil produced an alternative report and travelled to Geneva to brief the Committee on problems relating to identification of torture victims in asylum procedures and as a consequence inadequate asylum determination procedures and denial of their right to rehabilitation.

In its Concluding Observations, the Committee recommended that France:

  • Put in place a public policy for rehabilitation of torture victims and facilitate access to rehabilitation programmes
  • Improve measures for early identification of victims of torture and ill-treatment among asylum seekers.
  • Adequately train a sufficient number of professionals to provide specialised health services to victims of torture and ill-treatment and allocate adequate resources to associations and structures for support to victims.

The IRCT welcomes these targeted and specific recommendations to France and note that they are aligned with existing EU law obligations. 

"We note that France and many other European countries have problems in their lack of identification and treatment of torture victims among asylum seekers. Early identification of torture victims is essential for improving their physical and mental wellbeing and for ensuring that they receive a fair determination of their asylum claim. We are pleased that the Committee issued very clear recommendations to France and we hope that the French authorities will draw on the existing expertise in France and abroad to ensure effective implementation,” said IRCT Advocacy Director, Asger Kjaerum.

Parcour d’Exil report to CAT available here.

Committee against Torture Concluding Observations on Israel available here.

“My only wish is that no one else endures the pain we went through, pain from torture, which still occurs today. I hope there can be a torture free world where human rights are not violated and where people can express their opinions.” - Torture survivor

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