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UN torture prevention body to visit Burundi, Costa Rica, Senegal and Switzerland; terminates Rwanda visit

GENEVA (July 4, 2018) — In the coming months, the UN’s Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture will visit Burundi, Costa Rica, Senegal and Switzerland. The visits were decided during the Subcommittee’s confidential session held in Geneva from 18-22 June, and come in addition to previously announced visits to Poland, Kyrgyzstan and Liberia. This year, the Subcommittee has completed visits to Uruguay, Belize and Portugal.

The Subcommittee has a mandate to visit States which have ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture, and assist those States in preventing torture and other forms of ill-treatment. The Subcommittee communicates its observations and recommendations to States through a confidential report, which it encourages countries to make public.

During its session, the Subcommittee also decided to terminate its visit to Rwanda that had been suspended in October 2017, due to a lack of cooperation from the government. In 11 years of exercising its mandate and more than 60 visits, it is the first time the SPT is terminating a visit before its completion. There was no realistic prospect of the visit being successfully resumed and concluded within a reasonable timeframe, the Subcommittee said.  

“It is most regrettable that, for the first time in its history, the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture has felt it necessary to terminate a visit prematurely,” said Malcolm Evans, Chair of the Subcommittee. “We will, of course, continue to co-operate with Rwanda in order to assist the country in fulfilling its obligations under international law, as we assist all others,” he added.

In other work during its session, the Subcommittee welcomed Cambodia’s recently adopted legislation establishing a National Preventive Mechanism against torture, as required by the Optional Protocol to which the country acceded in 2007. The Subcommittee removed Cambodia from its list of States with a significant overdue in establishing a National Preventive Mechanism against torture.  

ENDS 

For more information contact Joao Nataf, SPT Secretary + 41 (0) 22 917 9102 jnataf@ohchr.org 

Background: 

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 88 countries. The Committee 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.