This article explains that the United Nations Committee against Torture (hereinafter “the Committee”) has played a significant role in addressing the serious problem of torture in health care settings. In particular, the Committee’s Concluding Observations and Recommendations under Article 19 of the Convention against Torture have been an important tool in this area. The Committee has used these means to remind States parties of their obligation to provide adequate health care for persons held in detention centers and prisons, to address abuses and poor conditions in mental health institutions and psychiatric facilities, and to denounce the practice of punishing or denying care to women who seek post-abortion health services. Additionally, the substantive and procedural obligations outlined in the Committee’s recently adopted General Comment No. 3, which addresses the issue of redress and rehabilitation of victims of torture, are also identified as an important step in the quest to prevent torture and provide redress to all victims of torture, including those in health care settings.
The U.N. Committee Against Torture and Eradication of Torture in Health Care Settings, Torture in Healthcare Settings: Reflections on the Special Rapporteur on Torture's 2013 Thematic Report, publication of the CENTER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS & HUMANITARIAN LAW Anti-Torture Initiative (March 2014) at 43