Geneva, 2 July 2007: The Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (SPT) has announced the initial phase of its visits programme for 2007/2008.
During its second session last week held from 26-29 June 2007, the SPT notified the authorities of Mauritius, Sweden, the Maldives and Paraguay of its plans to carry out visits to these four States Parties. The countries to receive the visits during 2007 or early 2008 have been chosen in accordance with the Optional Protocol. The SPT met with representatives from the Permanent Missions of each of the four States Parties in order to discuss the visiting programme and the modalities of SPT visits.
The SPT consists of 10 independent expert members carrying out preventive visits to places of detention in all States Parties to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture.
The SPT has a mandate to visit all State Parties, with a view to strengthening, if necessary, the protection of persons deprived of liberty against torture and other forms of ill-treatment. Every State Party is obliged under the Optional Protocol to grant the SPT unrestricted access to any place of detention and to provide all the relevant information the SPT may request. The SPT may have private interviews with persons deprived of liberty and any other person believed by the SPT to be able to provide relevant information.
In the framework of the close cooperation between the SPT and the State parties, the SPT would like to make itself available for an ongoing dialogue concerning the National Preventive Mechanisms, which State Parties undertake to establish and maintain. Advising and assisting in the development of effective and independent national preventive mechanisms is a key element in the SPT's work and will form an important part of each visit. The SPT will be communicating in the near future more specific details on how it intends to approach issues relating to National Preventive Mechanisms.
For further information on the SPT, please consult the website http://www.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cat/opcat/