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20 November 2007

The Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture issued the following statement today:

“In accordance with Article 10, paragraph 3 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, the historic first meeting of the members of the Committee against Torture and the Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture took place today at the Palais Wilson. The meeting was cordial and productive, with unanimous agreement that members would work together on the two complementary mandates, including by developing specific working methods for communication and co-operation among members between formal meetings, in order to pursue the common goal of eliminating torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

The Subcommittee is a newly created body that was established according to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. It consists of 10 independent experts who work with national preventive mechanisms and carry out regular unannounced visits to places of detention in all States parties to the Optional Protocol, with a view to strengthening, if necessary, the protection of persons deprived of liberty against torture and other forms of ill treatment. Advising and assisting in the development of effective and independent national preventive mechanisms is also another key element in the Subcommittee's work and form an important part of each visit. Every State party is obliged under the Optional Protocol to grant the Subcommittee unrestricted access to any place of detention and to provide all the relevant information the Subcommittee may request. The Subcommittee may have private interviews with persons deprived of liberty and any other person believed by the Subcommittee to be able to provide relevant information.

The 10 members of the Subcommittee are: Silvia Casale, Mario Luis Coriolano, Marija Definis Gojanoviæ, Zdenìk Hájek, Zbigniew Lasocik, Hans Draminsky Petersen, Victor Manuel Rodríguez Rescia, Miguel Sarre Iguíniz, Wilder Tayler Souto and Leopoldo Torres Boursault."