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UN torture prevention body concludes first visit to Switzerland


GENEVA (12 February 2019) — The United Nations Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment has completed its first visit to Switzerland, which took place from 28 January to 7 February 2019 to assess the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty and the safeguards put in place to protect them from torture and ill-treatment.

States parties to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment must establish a National Preventive Mechanism, provide it with the necessary resources for its operation and guarantee its independence and its budgetary autonomy.

Switzerland ratified the Optional Protocol in 2009 and set up such a mechanism, the National Commission for the Prevention of Torture (CNPT) the same year.

"We are delighted by the excellent cooperation by the Swiss authorities during the visit as well as the meetings with the CNPT, with which we worked closely," said Catherine Paulet, head of the delegation. The group visited police stations, prisons, detention centers for migrants, and psychiatric service in the cantons of Bern, Zurich, Geneva and Vaud. During their visit, the delegation also met with representatives of the federal and cantonal authorities, the public prosecutor's office, the judiciary and civil society.

"We encouraged Switzerland to increase the resources allocated to its National Commission for the Prevention of Torture in order to strengthen its essential work to protect the rights of persons deprived of their liberty," Paulet added.

At the end of its visit, the delegation presented its preliminary and confidential comments to the federal authorities and the CNPT. The Subcommittee will send the Swiss government a confidential report containing its observations and recommendations, as well as a separate confidential report to the Commission, and encourages them to make the reports public.

The delegation comprised the following members: Ms. Catherine Paulet (Head of Delegation; France), Mr. Satyabhooshun Gupt Domah (Mauritius); Mr. Joachim Gnambi Garba Kodjo (Togo); Mr. Petros Michaelides (Cyprus); Mr. Abdallah Ounnir (Morocco); and Mr. Haimoud Ramdan (Mauritania).



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. The SPT 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. Learn more with our videos on the Treaty Body system and on the Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture!

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