GENEVA (July 1, 2019) — In the coming months, the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture will visit Australia, Croatia, Lebanon, Madagascar, Nauru and Paraguay. The visits were decided during the Subcommittee’s confidential session held in Geneva from 17 to 21 June. This year, the Subcommittee has completed visits to Switzerland, Costa Rica, Sri Lanka, Senegal and Ghana, and is planning visits to Argentina, Bulgaria, Cabo Verde, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain.
The Subcommittee has a mandate to visit States that have ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, and assist those States in preventing torture and ill-treatment of people deprived of their liberty. The Subcommittee communicates its observations and recommendations to States through confidential reports, which it encourages countries to make public.
During its session, the Subcommittee requested meetings with the Permanent Mission of Brazil in Geneva to discuss a recent decree affecting the position of 11 members of Brazil’s National Mechanism to Prevent and Combat Torture and to cease remunerating those working for the Mechanism. The Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture has serious concerns that these measures appear to weaken Brazil’s preventive mechanism and with it, torture prevention in the country. The Subcommittee is still engaging with the national authorities in order to better understand the background to, and reasons for, these developments, with the aim of ensuring that the Brazilian preventive mechanism is able to function effectively and in accordance with the provisions of the Optional Protocol.
In other work during its session, the Subcommittee decided to add Mongolia to the list of States that are significantly overdue in establishing a National Preventive Mechanism against torture (NPM) in their country. Mongolia ratified the Optional Protocol in February 2015 and should have established its NPM one year after ratification.
The Subcommittee also adopted confidential reports on its visits to Liberia and Poland, and sent the reports from these visits to the state authorities and as well as the National Preventive Mechanism of Poland.
During its session, the Subcommittee met with representatives of the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT), Convention against Torture Initiative (CTI), and the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT). The discussion with the latter focused on the implementation of the memorandum of understanding signed between both bodies to coordinate their activities in the countries visited by both of them.
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The Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture monitors States parties’ adherence to the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture which to date has been ratified by 90 countries. The Subcommittee is made up of 25 members who are independent human rights experts drawn from around the world, who serve in their personal capacity and not as representatives of States parties. The Subcommittee has a mandate to undertake visits to States parties, during the course of which it may visit any place where persons may be deprived of their liberty.
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