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UN torture prevention body to visit Portugal

GENEVA (30 April 2018) – The United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) will make its first visit to Portugal from 1 to 10 May 2018 to assess the treatment of people deprived of their liberty, and the safeguards in place for their protection against torture and ill-treatment.

Among the places the SPT delegation is due to visit are prisons, police stations, correctional rehabilitation facilities for women and juveniles, and psychiatric institutions. The experts will meet government officials and the national monitoring body, officially known as the national preventive mechanism (NPM) of Portugal, as well as civil society representatives.

“During our visit we will address the current situation of people deprived of their liberty in Portugal,” said Nora Sveaass, who will head the delegation. “We will discuss with the authorities steps Portugal needs to take to effectively prevent torture and ill-treatment of persons in detention, which is an integral part of the country’s full implementation of its treaty obligations.” 

The SPT has a mandate to visit all States that are parties to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT). At the end of the visit, the SPT will present its confidential preliminary observations to the Government of Portugal and the national preventive mechanism.

The SPT delegation will be composed of Nora Sveaass, Head of Delegation (Norway), Satyabhooshun Gupt Domah (Mauritius), Roberto Michel Fehér Pérez (Uruguay), Kosta Mitrovic (Serbia), and Margarete Osterfeld (Germany).

The SPT is composed of 25 independent and impartial experts who are independent human rights experts drawn from around the world, who serve in their personal capacity and not as representatives of States Parties.

For media inquiries or for more information, please contact:
Portugal: Armen Avetisyan, +41 797520486 / aavetisyan@ohchr.org
Geneva: Julia Gronnevet, +41 (0) 22 917 9310 / jgronnevet@ohchr.org  

ENDS

Background

To date, the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture has been ratified by 87 states. States are under the obligation to allow the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) unannounced and unhindered visits to all places where persons are deprived of their liberty. States Parties should also establish a National Preventive Mechanism (NPM), which should conduct regular visits to places throughout the country where people are deprived of liberty. The mandate of the SPT is to prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of persons deprived of their liberty, through visits and recommendations to States parties to the Optional Protocol. The SPT communicates its recommendations and observations to States by means of a confidential report and, where necessary, to national preventive mechanisms. However, States parties are encouraged to request that the SPT publish the reports.