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Liberia must strengthen its national capacity to prevent torture, UN experts say

GENEVA/MONROVIA (2 November 2018) – The United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) completed today its second visit to Liberia. The visit, which took place from 29 October to 2 November, focused on the implementation of the recommendations the SPT made following its first visit in 2010. 

“The situation of persons deprived of their liberty is a matter of grave concern to us. The recommendations in our first visit report remain as relevant as when they were made back in 2010,” said Sir Malcolm Evans, who headed the SPT delegation to Liberia.

The SPT during its visit held discussions on the establishment of an independent National Preventive Mechanism, a body which the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) requires be established and which must have the authority and capacity to undertake preventive visits to any place where it believes persons may be deprived of their liberty. Liberia is a State party to the OPCAT.

"It is the duty of the State the ensure that all persons in detention are treated properly. Liberia is yet to establish its National Preventive Mechanism to prevent torture and ill-treatment. This should have been done over ten years ago. We are committed to working constructively with the Liberian authorities to help them do this and we hope they will respond positively to our offer,” concluded the head of delegation.

The SPT met with the Liberian authorities and had technical discussions with some relevant ministries to seek their views regarding the effectiveness of the measures so far taken to bring Liberia into compliance with its obligations to prevent torture and ill-treatment. The SPT also met with the Independent National Commission on Human Rights, members of civil society as well as with United Nations representatives. The SPT also visited prisons, police stations and other detention facilities. 

The SPT will submit its confidential report to the Government of Liberia, containing its observations and recommendations arising from the visit. The report made following the SPT’s first visit in 2010 remains confidential unless the state requests its publication. 

The SPT delegation comprised: Sir Malcolm Evans (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland), Ms Mari Amos (Estonia), Ms Marija Definis-Gojanovic (Croatia), and Mr. Satyabhooshun Gupt Domah (Mauritius).

ENDS 

For media inquiries or for more information, please contact:
In Liberia: Armen Avetisyan, +41 79444 3707/ aavetisyan@ohchr.org        
In Geneva: Julia Grønnevet, +41 (0) 22 917 9310 / jgronnevet@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 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. 

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