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UN torture prevention experts announce visits to Morocco and Burkina Faso

GENEVA (22 February 2017) - Morocco and Burkina Faso are among the countries that the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) will visit in 2017 to assess the treatment of people deprived of their liberty, as well as the measures taken for their protection against torture and ill-treatment.

Under the SPT’s mandate, members may make unannounced visits to any places where people are or may be deprived of their liberty, including prisons, police stations, centres for migrants, security services, interrogation facilities and psychiatric hospitals. In addition, the SPT provides advice to national authorities on the establishment of national detention monitoring bodies, known as National Preventive Mechanisms (NPM). It also cooperates and assists the NPMs on their functioning.

“During our visits we observe, listen and then advise States on measures ensuring every detained person is free from torture and ill treatment.  Every country which ratifies the OPCAT must focus primarily on establishing an independent, efficient and well-resourced NPM. The objective of the SPT advisory visits is to help States deliver on this obligation. In this way, together, we are standing up for detainees rights at the global and country levels,” said SPT Chair Malcolm Evans.

During its February session, the SPT has also decided to add Burundi and the Philippines to the list of countries that have failed to establish their NPM within four years of ratification, which is a serious violation of their obligations under the OPCAT. The list is now currently composed of Argentina, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Chile, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Lebanon, Liberia, Nigeria, Nauru, Panama and the Philippines.

In the coming months, the SPT will also visit: Hungary, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bolivia, Rwanda, Panama, Mongolia and Spain, after having already visited Niger earlier this year.

ENDS

For more information, please contact:
Joao Nataf, SPT Secretary, Human Rights Treaty Branch: + 41 (0) 22 917 9102/ jnataf@ohchr.org

For media inquiries, please contact:
In Geneva: Nicoleta Panta, +41 (0) 22 /917 9310/npanta@ohchr.org

Background:

The SPT’s role is to prevent and eliminate torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment of detainees, and it has a mandate to visit all States that are parties to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT).
The OPCAT is a unique international human rights treaty which assists States to prevent torture and other forms of ill-treatment.

The Optional Protocol on the Prevention of Torture has to date been ratified by 83 countries. The SPT communicates its recommendations and observations to the State by means of a confidential report, and if necessary to National Preventive Mechanisms. However, State parties are encouraged to request that the SPT makes these reports public. You can find more information about the SPT here.  

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