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UN torture prevention experts announce resuming visit to Rwanda

GENEVA (28 February 2018) The United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) decided to resume its visit to Rwanda, which was suspended on 19 October 2017. The exact dates of the visit will be announced in due course.
It has also announced that it will visit Uruguay, Belize and Portugal during the first months of 2018.

The visits were decided at the SPT’s February session, which took place in Geneva from 12-19 February, 2018. The SPT also decided that it would review the list of countries that have failed to establish a national detention monitoring body within four years after ratification, a serious violation of their obligations under the Optional Protocol. The list is now currently composed of Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Chile, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Liberia, Nauru, Nigeria, Panama and the Philippines.

The SPT can make unannounced visits to any place where people are or might be deprived of their liberty in countries which are a party to the Protocol to the Convention against Torture. That includes prisons, police stations, detention centers for migrants, juveniles’ detention centers, interrogation facilities and psychiatric hospitals.

“During our visits we listen to States and then advise them on how they can ensure that detained persons are free from torture and ill-treatment and have decent conditions of detention. Every country which ratifies the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture must first focus on establishing an independent, efficient and well-resourced national preventive mechanism. Our visits aim also to help States fulfil that obligation” said Sir Malcolm Evans, Chair of the SPT.

In addition, the Subcommittee provides advice to national authorities on how to establish national detention monitoring bodies, known as National Preventive Mechanisms (NPM). It also cooperates with the national monitoring bodies and helps them to perform in accordance with their obligations.

ENDS

For more information contact Joao Nataf, SPT Secretary + 41 (0) 22 917 9102/ jnataf@ohchr.org

Background:

The role of the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture is to prevent and eliminate torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment of detainees. It has a mandate to visit all States that have signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT).

The OPCAT is a unique international human rights treaty, which visits States and assists them in preventing torture and other forms of ill-treatment.

The Optional Protocol on the Prevention of Torture has to date been ratified by 87 countries. The SPT communicates its recommendations and observations to the State through a confidential report, which it may also send, if necessary, to National Preventive Mechanisms. The SPT encourages countries to make its reports public. You can find more information about the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture here.