GENEVA (27 May 2016) – The UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) says it held a positive discussion with the Government of Ukraine after suspending its visit to the country in response to being denied access to places of detention.
The SPT called a halt to its visit on 25 May after being prevented from accessing facilities of the Security Service of Ukraine.
“Following the suspension of our visit, we held talks with the government authorities in Kyiv where we agreed to work constructively to resolve the issues of access. Overcoming this problem would allow us to resume our visit as soon as practically possible,” said Sir Malcolm Evans, head of the four-member delegation.
The SPT was also unable to secure access to places of detention when it visited districts of the Donetsk region which are not controlled by the Government of Ukraine.
Under the Optional Protocol (OPCAT), the SPT is mandated to visit all States parties and can make unannounced visits to any places of detention. The suspension of the Ukraine visit, which began on 19 May and was due to end on 26 May, was only the second time the SPT had halted a mission.
The focus of the SPT’s visit was to evaluate how its recommendations made after its first visit in 2011 had been implemented. The work of the SPT, which is composed of independent human rights experts, is guided by the principles of confidentiality and cooperation.
The SPT delegation to Ukraine comprised: Sir Malcom Evans (United Kingdom), Ms. Mari Amos (Estonia), Ms. June Caridad Pagaduan Lopez (Philippines) and Mr. Victor Zaharia (Moldova).
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The Optional Protocol on the Prevention of Torture has to date been ratified by 81 countries. The SPT communicates its recommendations and observations to the State by means of a confidential report, and if necessary to National Preventive Mechanisms. However, State parties are encouraged to request that the SPT makes these reports public.
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