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The Sub-Committee on the prevention of torture issued the following statement:

Geneva, 27 November 2007: - - The Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (SPT) has announced the second phase of its visits programme for 2008.

During its third session last week held from 19 – 23 November 2007, the SPT announced that the second phase of visits will include, in addition to visits to Sweden and Paraguay, which were already notified in June, visits to Benin and Mexico. The visits to Sweden and Benin will take place during the first half of 2008 and the visits to Mexico and Paraguay in the second half of 2008. Additionally, the SPT envisages carrying out a number of preliminary visits to State parties. The countries to receive visits during 2008 have been chosen in accordance with the Optional Protocol.

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/