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The UN Committee Against Torture: Human Rights Monitoring and the Legal Recognition of Cruelty

From: Human Rights Quarterly
Volume 31, Number 3, August 2009
pp. 777-800 | 10.1353/hrq.0.0094



Focusing on the Committee Against Torture, this article argues that human rights monitoring can hide as much as it reveals. In particular, monitoring should be understood as a “second order” process that displaces the discussion of the causes and consequences of violence in favor of a focus on the systems that are supposed to monitor cruelty. In this process, measurements, monitoring, and prevention are in danger of becoming merged. As such, the ways in which the Committee Against Torture produces and assesses information serves simultaneously to create a depoliticized conception of violence and to reproduce political inequalities between states.

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