Concluding Observations of the Committee against Torture
COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE
8-19 November 1999
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES
UNDER ARTICLE 19 OF THE CONVENTION
Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture
41. The Committee considered the second periodic report of Malta (CAT/C/29/Add.6) at its 393rd, 396th and 398th meetings on 9, 10, and 11 November 1999 (CAT/C/SR.393, 396 and 398) and adopted the following conclusions and recommendations.
42. The Committee notes that the report had been submitted with a delay of two years, it was brief and it was not in complete conformity with the June 1998 guidelines for the preparation of periodic reports. However, the report, was supplemented by an extensive and informative oral presentation, updating it, by the representative of the State party, as well as by the complete answers to questions raised by the Committee members.
43. The Committee realizes the difficulties for small countries to comply with their reporting obligations, yet it wishes to emphasize that complete written information is necessary to facilitate its assessment of the implementation of the Convention.
2. Positive aspects
44. The Committee welcomes the following developments:
(a) The improvement of correctional facilities and, in particular, the arrangements for the housing of illegal immigrants in dormitories formerly used by police staff;
(b) The entrusting of the supervision of asylum seekers to the ordinary police instead of the Special Assignment Group;
(c) The ratification of the 1957 European Convention on Extradition;
(d) The inclusion of human rights in the training programme of the police academy;
(e) The completion and the expected presentation to Parliament of the new Asylum Act which provides,
, for: (i) the removal of the geographical exception limiting the granting of asylum to European refugees; (ii) the appointment of a commissioner to decide asylum cases; (iii) the right to appeal the commissioner's decision before an independent appeals board; and (iv) the fact that asylum seekers cannot be deported before a final decision has been taken in their case.
45. The Committee recommends that:
(a) The State party ensure that the envisaged new Asylum Act is consistent with the provisions of the Convention;
(b) The State party ensure that victims of torture are not dissuaded from lodging a complaint by any intimidation or threats, including threats of legal measures being taken against them;
(c) The next periodic report of Malta, which was due on 12 October 1999, be submitted by December 2000 and be prepared in accordance with the guidelines established by the Committee.
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights