Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Yuri Sterk headed the delegation with which Bulgaria defended its sixth regular report before the UN Committee Against Torture during the Committee’s 62nd Session in Geneva on 20 and 21 November. The report shows the way this country implements, and the progress it has achieved under, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
The Bulgarian delegation included Ambassador Deyana Kostadinova, Bulgaria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office and other International Organisations in Geneva, as well as the Deputy Minister of Interior Milko Berner and the Deputy Minister of Justice Prof. Nikolay Prodanov. Replies to the questions put by the Committee were also provided by representatives of the National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, experts of the Ministry of Justice and the Academy of the Ministry of Interior, as well as diplomats of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Human Rights Directorate.
The Committee Against Torture is a body of 10 independent experts that monitors the implementation of the Convention against Torture by its States parties. All States parties to the Convention are obliged to submit and defend regular reports to the Committee on honouring the commitments assumed.
The Bulgarian representatives replied to questions about access to legal representation and legal safeguards, the conditions in prisons and detention facilities, the protection of refugees’ and migrants’ rights, unaccompanied minors, the use of force by police officers, trafficking in human beings, the activity of the Ombudsman as a National Preventive Mechanism, the judicial reform, etc. Our country was congratulated on signing the Council of Europe Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, on the progress of the reform process for child care deinstitutionalisation, as well as on the institutions’ cooperation with non-governmental organisations and civil society.
Bulgaria is among the countries which are highly committed to the topics under consideration, and the members of the UN Committee Against Torture acknowledged the constructive approach and exhaustive information provided during the dialogue.