GENEVA (18 August 2017) – The United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) is due to make its first visit to Panama from 20 to 26 August to assess the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty, as well as the safeguards for their protection against torture and ill-treatment.
Among the places the SPT delegation is due to visit are prisons, police stations, psychiatric institutions, detention facilities for juveniles and detention places for migrants. The SPT delegation will also hold meetings with Panama’s authorities, United Nations civil servants and civil society representatives.
“One of the aims during our visit is to provide advice and assistance to Panama’s authorities on the full implementation of their treaty obligations, including the establishment of a national independent body fully able to monitor places of detention,” said Lorena González Pinto, the Head of the SPT delegation.
Panama ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) in June 2011. According to OPCAT’s article 17, States parties are required to maintain, designate or establish such a body, known as a National Preventive Mechanism (NPM), within a year after ratification.
“Having an independent, efficient and well-resourced NPM is essential to prevent torture and ill-treatment,” stressed Ms. González Pinto.
Following the visit, the SPT will submit a confidential report to the Government of Panama, containing its observations and recommendations.
The SPT has a mandate to visit all States that are parties to OPCAT and can make unannounced visits to places of detention. For the SPT, the key to preventing torture and ill-treatment lies in building constructive relations with the State concerned, and its guiding principles are cooperation and confidentiality.
The SPT delegation will comprise: Lorena González Pinto (Guatemala), Felipe Villavicencio Terreros (Peru), Roberto Michel Feher Pérez (Uruguay) and Nora Sveaass (Norway).
The Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment has, to date, been ratified by 83 countries. The SPT communicates its recommendations and observations to States by means of a confidential report and, if necessary, to National Preventive Mechanisms. However, States parties are encouraged to request that the SPT makes these reports public.
The SPT is composed of 25 independent and impartial experts from different regions of the world. For more information on the mandate of Subcommittee, please visit:
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