The NGOs play an important role before the Committee against Torture. They are heard before the session of considering the periodic reports of every State and they are invited to submit written information. States parties are encouraged to consult NGOs when preparing their reports.
The individuals who are victims of violations of the Convention against Torture can report their situation to local and international NGOs so that they can transmit the information to the States and the Committee against Torture. All States parties of the Convention against Torture are under the obligation to provide a report every 4 years.
As of 26 January 2010, the following African States have ratified the Convention against Torture:
Article 20 of the Convention against Torture allows the Committee to receive and to consider, according to a confidential procedure, reliable information which indicates that torture is being systematically practiced on the territory of a State party. If there are well-founded indications verifying that information, the Committee looks for the cooperation with the State concerned and particularly invites the government concerned to react upon these accusations. The Committee can ask one or more members for a confidential investigation which can imply a visit of the country concerned. After the investigations have been accomplished the Committee can decide to publish the results in a short report. Until today, the Committee has carried out four investigations (Egypt, Peru, Sri Lanka and Turkey) according to this procedure.
Attention: If a State party ratifies the Convention against Torture, it can declare that it does not accept the competence of the Committee to carry out inquiries (Article 28) as Equatorial Guinea and Mauritania did.