GENEVA (9 October 2015) – To strengthen torture prevention, in Turkey it is crucial that the authorities adopt a strong and comprehensive legal framework for the national monitoring body, said Mari Amos, Head of the delegation of the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture at the end of its first official visit to the country.
The four-member delegation of the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) visited Turkey from 6 to 9 October 2015 to provide advice and formulate recommendations with regard to the country’s national detention monitoring body and to the Turkish authorities.
“The need for torture prevention in Turkey has been highlighted by various international bodies. Therefore, while ratification of the Optional Protocol is an indicator of the will to fight torture, the establishment of an OPCAT-compliant National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) which is fully independent, well-resourced, multi-disciplinary, professional and highly visible is an important step in the practical fulfillment of such a commitment,” said Mari Amos, who led the delegation to Turkey.
“The Government expressed its strong will to make the NPM fully operational. This commitment must now be translated into concrete action by adopting a specific law that provides the NPM with a strong mandate and makes it fully operational, functional, independent and well-resourced,” said Amos.
Working to prevent and eliminate torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment, the Subcommittee monitors how States implement provisions of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT). The OPCAT requires, as one of its key provisions, that States establish and guarantee the independent functioning of their National Preventive Mechanisms.
For the SPT, the key to preventing torture and ill-treatment lies in building constructive relations with States and NPMs, and its guiding principles are cooperation and confidentiality.
“I sincerely hope that Turkey will take our recommendations into account so that the country, together with partners and civil society, lays the groundwork for an effective torture prevention body in the country,” Ms. Amos said.
In addition to holding discussions with relevant Government officials, including the Deputy Prime Minister, and the Human Rights Institution of Turkey, which has been given the role of NPM, the delegation met members of the Turkish Parliament and the civil society. The human rights experts also carried out a capacity building exercise with NPM representatives through joint visits to Ankara Sican Prison and to custodial cells at the Ankara Police Department.
Following its visit, the Subcommittee will submit separate, confidential reports to the Government of Turkey and to the Turkish NPM, containing its observations and recommendations.
The SPT delegation to Turkey comprised Mari Amos (Head of Delegation), Aisha Shujune Muhammad (Vice Chair of the Subcommittee), Hans-Jörg Viktor Bannwart and June Caridad Pagaduan Lopez.
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The SPT has a mandate to visit all States that are parties to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT). The Optional Protocol has to date been ratified by 80 countries. States parties are obliged to set up a monitoring body, known as a National Preventive Mechanism within a year of ratifying the Protocol.
In accordance with its mandate, the SPT undertakes advisory visits to National Preventive Mechanisms. During such visits, the SPT seeks to support and reinforce the NPM’s mandate and effective functioning by providing technical advice and assistance to both the NPM and the State party, and through practical capacity building activities.
More about the SPT: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/OPCAT/Pages/OPCATIndex.aspx
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