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Nicaragua: The Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture concludes its first regular visit 16 May 2014

The United Nations body presented today its confidential preliminary observations to the State on the situation of persons deprived of its liberty in the country. 

Managua- The United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture concluded today its first visit to Nicaragua with a call to the Government to strengthen the protection of persons deprived of its liberty against all forms of mistreatment. The UN group of experts, who visited Nicaragua from 7 to 16 May 2014, carried out visits to different places of deprivation of liberty, including police stations, prisons, juvenile detention places and migrant detention centres in various departments in the Pacific zone as well as in the Caribbean autonomous regions. 

The members of the SPT held meetings with representatives of all branches of the State and with civil society organizations. During its visits to places of deprivation of liberty, the delegation interviewed penitentiary and police staff as well as persons deprived of its liberty and their families in a private and confidential manner.

“The situation of persons deprived of their liberty in Nicaragua is extremely worrying” said Enrique Font, head of the SPT delegation. “We trust that our findings and recommendations will be used by the Government of Nicaragua to eliminate any form of ill-treatment in places of deprivation of liberty and to improve conditions of detention”.

The visit of the UN Subcommittee is in accordance to the Optional Protocol to the Convention of Torture which was ratified by Nicaragua in 2009. The SPT mandate permits it to conduct on-site visits and make recommendations to the authorities aimed at establishing effective safeguards against torture and ill-treatment in places of deprivation of liberty. The SPT mandate is mirrored at the national level by a National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) that must provide continuity to the SPT task once this body finishes its visit to the country.
                                                                                                                                              
Nicaragua appointed the National Human Rights Institution, the “Procuraduria para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos” PDDH as a national preventive mechanism for the prevention of torture” said Font. “This institution should play an active role in the prevention of torture and ill-treatment of persons deprived of their liberty through periodic visits to places for deprivation of liberty, followed by recommendations to the authorities that must be monitored. In particular, the PDDH should monitor that no reprisals will be taken against persons deprived of their liberty after their interviews with our Subcommittee”.

Upon request made by the PDDH and with the aim to build its capacity as a national mechanism for the prevention of torture, the Subcommittee dedicated part of its visit to the country to provide advice and technical assistance to the PDDH including through joint visits to places of deprivation of liberty.

In accordance with the provisions of the Optional Protocol, the SPT will send its final report confidentially to the Government of Nicaragua. Pursuant to the Optional Protocol, the State party can request the publication of the report, which promotes transparency and would allow the State party to request financial resources to fulfil the recommendations made by the SPT, by accessing the special found created to this aim.

The SPT Delegation to Nicaragua was composed of the following members: Mr. Enrique Font (Head of the delegation), Mr. Emilio Ginés, Mr. Hans Petersen y Ms. Judith Salgado. The delegation benefited from the support of the staff of the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva and the United Nations Development Programme in Nicaragua.

For more information about the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cat/opcat/index.htm
Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/cat-one.htm
To arrange an interview with the SPT, please contact: Hernan Vales: + 505 77 05 3280 y + 41 79 444 3993/ hvales@ohchr.org