Most Conventions have stipulated within them a requirement that States
Parties submit regular reports to the Committee on the legislative, judicial,
administrative, policy or other measures which they have adopted, and which
give effect to the provisions of the treaty. The international obligation
to report on treaty-obligations is an important responsibility as it evidences
the country’s commitment to the global effort to protect and promote
human rights. However this requires that a state have in place legislative,
administrative and other measures which are in line with and in promotion
of the norms of the specific treaty the country has aligned itself to.
In adhering to the regular reporting schedule required by the International
UN bodies a country then gets the opportunity to assess its compliance
or lack thereof with its international obligations through the drafting
of the country report.
Country reporting is an important obligation in that it evidences the
country’s commitment to human rights and it also serves as a moderating
tool to assess the country’s compliance with its international obligations
and how far it has progressed in implementing human rights.
The ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention
Against Torture and Other cruel, Inhuman or degrading Treatment and
or Punishment (OPCAT) in terms of section 231(2) of the Constitution
of the Republic of South Africa Act (Act no 108 of 1996). The optional
protocol focuses entirely
on the prevention of torture and ill-treatment in places of detention
through the establishment of mechanisms which will undertake site visits
to places of detention in order to prevent and eradicate torture and
other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.