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Mozambique: some progress in torture prevention, but significant challenges remain – UN experts

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GENEVA/MAPUTO (14 September 2016)– The United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture on Tuesday completed a high level advisory visit to the Republic of Mozambique.
 
During their visit, which took place from 5 to 9 September 2016, the experts advised the Mozambican authorities on the prevention of torture under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT).

“The OPCAT ratification, back in July 2014, which was quickly followed by the designation of a National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) to monitor places of detention, are clear signs of the commitment taken by the Mozambican authorities in preventing torture,” said the Head of the SPT delegation, Víctor Madrigal-Borloz, at the end of the visit.
 
The human rights expert noted that the National Human Rights Commission was officially mandated to monitor places of detention in its functions of National Preventive Mechanism (NPM), following the OPCAT ratification.

“However, there is still some significant work pending in Mozambique, including the adoption of all the measures necessary to ensure that the NPM can carry out its mandate in an efficient and effective manner. This includes ensuring that the NPM operates in an independent way, and that it has all necessary means and resources,” Mr. Madrigal-Borloz noted.

The SPT also stressed that much remains to be done in terms of access to places of detention. “The principle of unhindered access to all places where a person is or may be detained is a cornerstone of the OPCAT,” said the expert.

“We deplore the fact that, during our visit, we received reports of restricted access of the NPM to police stations and other places of detention. We urge the Mozambican authorities to immediately put an end to these limitations,” said the Head of the delegation.

During its five-day visit, the SPT held joint activities with the National Human Rights Commission and met with high State authorities, including the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Attorney General, the Minister and Vice Minister of Justice, the President and Vice President of the Supreme Court and the Ombudsman. The group also met with representatives of civil society, including the Bar Association. 
The Subcommittee will submit its confidential report to the Government of the Republic of Mozambique, containing its observations and recommendations arising from the visit.
 
The SPT was represented by Mr. Víctor Madrigal-Borloz (Costa Rica), Head of Delegation and SPT rapporteur on Mozambique, Ms. Nora Sveaass (Norway) and Ms. Aneta Stanchevska (FYR Macedonia).

ENDS

For more information, please contact Joao Nataf: +41 22 917 9102 /jnataf@ohchr.org

Background:

The Optional Protocol on the Prevention of Torture has, to date, been ratified by 81 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.

For more information on the mandate of Subcommittee, please visit: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/OPCAT/Pages/OPCATIndex.aspx

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