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

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    Rights statement: Copyright © 2009 Johns Hopkins University Press. This article first appeared in Human Rights Quarterly, 31:3 (2009) 777-800 doi: 10.1353/hrq.0.0094. Reprinted with permission by Johns Hopkins University Press.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)777-800
Number of pages24
JournalHuman Rights Quarterly
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2009


Focusing on the Committee Against Torture, this article argues that human rights monitoring can hide as much as it reveals. In particular, monitoring Should he 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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