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Uruguay must improve prison conditions, says UN torture prevention body


GENEVA (20 March 2018) – Uruguay must improve the deplorable and unhealthy living conditions found in some detention facilities, the UN’s torture prevention body said after carrying out a visit to the country.

The Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (SPT), which from 4 to 15 March carried out its first visit to Uruguay, noted with special concern that the juvenile justice system resembles a prison system, encouraging the State to opt for a system that guarantees the rehabilitation and education of adolescents.
The SPT’s visit to Uruguay was in accordance with the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT), ratified by the State in 2005.

“We urge the Uruguayan State to allocate the necessary financial and human resources to ensure that persons deprived of their liberty are treated in accordance with international standards, particularly the Nelson Mandela and Bangkok rules,” said Felipe Villavicencio, head of the SPT delegation.

“We also encourage the State to strengthen the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture so that it can adequately and independently fulfil its prevention and monitoring functions, and extend its coverage and visibility throughout the country”, said Mr. Villavicencio, adding that the SPT would continue monitoring and providing technical assistance to the National Mechanism.

The delegation visited places of detention in different parts of Uruguay, including police stations, prisons, detention centres for adolescents and psychiatric units. The SPT conducted confidential and individual interviews with persons deprived of their liberty, prison system officials, police officials and health personnel and also met with Government officials, Uruguay’s National Human Rights Institution, the National Preventive Mechanism, and representatives of civil society.

Following its visit, the SPT will present a confidential report to the Government of Uruguay, which it encourages the Uruguayan State to make public. The report will include the SPT’s observations and recommendations for the prevention of torture and ill-treatment of persons deprived of their liberty.
The delegation was comprised of the following SPT members: Felipe Villavicencio Terreros (Head of Delegation; Peru), Nora Sveaass (Vice-President of the SPT, Norway) and Emilio Ginés Santidrián (Spain).


For media inquiries or for more information about the visit, please contact:
In Geneva: Julia Gronnevet, +41 (0) 22 917 9310 / jgronnevet@ohchr.org


The Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment has, to date, been ratified by 87 countries. The SPT communicates its recommendations and observations to States by means of a confidential report and, if necessary, to National Preventive Mechanisms. However, States parties are encouraged to request that the SPT makes these reports public. 

The SPT is composed of 25 independent and impartial experts from different regions of the world. For more information on the mandate of Subcommittee, please visit: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/OPCAT/Pages/OPCATIndex.aspx

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