The betrayal of Steve Biko – South Africa’s initial report to the UN Committee against torture and responses from civil society
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This article will focus on State Party obligations in respect of reporting to the UN Committee against Torture (the Committee) under article 19(1)17 of CAT and more particularly on civil society’s interaction with the Committee in respect of South Africa’s Initial Report. It will be argued that the provisions of CAT, the Rules of Procedure of the Committee, and the Working Methods of the Committee are in fact facilitative and supportive of civil society participation in the work of the Committee. Using the submissions made by six civil society organisations during the Committee’s consideration of South Africa’s Initial Report, evidence is provided that the majority of the issues raised by civil society organisations found their way into the Committee’s Concluding Remarks in respect of the Initial Report. This is regarded as a positive step towards greater transparency and accountability in respect of the protection of the right to freedom from torture in a global human rights framework.