GENEVA/STRASBOURG (26 July 2018) – At their respective plenary meetings of June and July 2018, the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (SPT) and the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) decided to reinforce complementarity and subsidiarity to reflect their respective strengths and added values.
Article 31 of the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT), which encourages the SPT and preventive bodies established under regional conventions such as the CPT to consult and cooperate with a view to avoiding duplication, forms the backdrop to these decisions.
Within their respective legal frameworks, both torture prevention bodies decided to improve the flow of information between them, to consult each other in future ahead of visits as well as on the potential benefits to be gained by the SPT carrying out visits in Europe. They will also consider, as appropriate, joint participation in follow-up activities. The SPT also decided to place particular emphasis on the work of national preventive mechanisms (NPMs) of the Council of Europe member States and to pay special attention to the potential for complementary and strengthening activities in those countries where there have been serious failures of co-operation with the CPT.
Both bodies also considered it crucial for States to facilitate the sharing of information between torture prevention bodies. “We strongly encourage and will strongly encourage Council of Europe member States which ratified the OPCAT to make arrangements to ensure that the SPT, the CPT and NPMs are able to consult each other’s visit reports even before their publication,” said Sir Malcolm Evans, Chair of the SPT, and Mr Mykola Gnatovskyy, President of the CPT. “It is one of the best ways of avoiding duplication, ensuring coherence and enhancing the effectiveness of preventive mechanisms in Europe”, they added.
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The Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture monitors States parties’ adherence to the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture, ratified to date by 88 States. 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. The Subcommittee has a mandate to undertake visits to States Parties, during the course of which it may visit any place where persons may be deprived of their liberty.
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