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OPTIONAL PROTOCOL TO THE CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE (OPCAT)
SUBCOMMITTEE ON PREVENTION OF TORTURE

Outline of SPT advisory visits to NPMs

In accordance with its mandate set forth in Article 11(b) of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT), the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (SPT) undertakes Advisory Visits to National Preventive Mechanisms (NPMs).

During its Advisory Visits to NPMs, the SPT seeks to support and reinforce NPM’s mandate by assisting the NPM and the State Party through the provision of technical advice and assistance regarding its effective functioning and through practical capacity building activities.

Generally, Advisory Visits to NPMs allow the SPT to focus on the legal and practical framework within which the NPM is working and enables the SPT to engage directly both with the NPM, as well as other national institutions and civil society to learn more about its work in practice. Such visits usually include meetings with a broad range of governmental and civil society groups as well as with the NPM itself and may also include visits to places of detention in the company of the NPM. The objective is to help strengthen the NPM and thereby strengthen the protection afforded to persons deprived of their liberty against torture and other ill treatment. Each NPM-focused visit is therefore context-driven and is designed in such a way as to maximise its impact upon the work of the national body. In situations where the State visited has yet to designate its NPM, as required by the OPCAT, the SPT will meet with State authorities, National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), civil society and others in order to explore and remedy this failure to comply with international obligations. When undertaking such visits, the SPT draws on its NPM Guidelines (CAT/OP/12/5), its Approach to the Concept of Prevention (CAT/OP/12/6), its Analytical self-assessment tool for NPMs (CAT/OP/1) as well as its other published papers relevant to the effective establishment and functioning of NPMs. Following NPM Advisory Visits, the SPT produces two Visit Reports, one to the NPM and the other to the State Party, both of which remain confidential unless the addressee determines otherwise, and both of which form the basis of an ongoing constructive dialogue, in accordance with established OPCAT principles.

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