GENEVA (30 November 2021) — The UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) will visit Argentina, Ecuador, Lebanon, Turkey and Tunisia in 2022. It will also hold high-level talks with the Brazilian authorities on the country's torture preventive mechanism.
"We are very pleased to be able to recommence our visits in 2022 to help protect people deprived of liberty in police stations, prisons, closed refugee camps and immigration detention centres. We look forward to engaging with States parties and national torture oversight bodies on the ground to strengthen our cooperation to prevent torture," said Suzanne Jabbour, the SPT Chairperson.
The upcoming visits were decided during the Subcommittee's latest confidential session held in Geneva in November and more visits for 2022 will be announced in due course.
During the session, the SPT also met with the Association for the Prevention of Torture on its recently adopted Mendez Principles*. The SPT welcomed the adoption of these principles, noting that they provide guidance for police and others on obtaining accurate and reliable information in full respect of the human rights of the person being interviewed, including through the implementation of legal and procedural safeguards in the first hours of police custody.
In other work during its weeklong session, the Subcommittee met with the UN Committee against Torture to strengthen cooperation and plan for join actions against torture.
In addition, the SPT decided to add Ghana, which ratified the Optional Protocol in 2016, to the list of States that are significantly overdue in establishing an independent domestic monitoring body, official known as a National Preventive Mechanism (NPM). Other States parties that are also substantially overdue in complying with this obligation are: Belize, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Liberia, Mongolia, Nauru, Nigeria, the Philippines and South Sudan. Under the Optional protocol to the Convention against Torture, States are obliged to establish NPMs within one year of ratification.
The Subcommittee also decided that it will engage in a more direct and informal way with National Preventive Mechanisms after its country visits. From now on, the SPT will not request that its reports for the NPMs are made public.
The SPT also adopted the confidential report on its visit to Cabo Verde, which has been sent to the state authorities.
* The Association for the Prevention of Torture's New Principles on Effective Interviewing for Investigations and Information Gathering
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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 90 countries. The Subcommittee 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 visit States that have ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, during the course of which it may visit any place where persons may be deprived of their liberty and assist those States in preventing torture and ill-treatment. The Subcommittee communicates its observations and recommendations to States through confidential reports, which it encourages countries to make public. .
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