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We will benefit from the expertise of this project in terms of elaboration of teaching tools on human rights in this specific field, notably through manuals and guides for visits to places of detention.

M. Aguibou BOUARE – President of the National Human Rights Commission in Mali,October 2021

The OPCAT Special Fund supports torture prevention projects. These projects should implement recommendations of the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture made after a country visit, provided that the visit report was made public. (See the UN Treaty Body database for the list of visited countries and public reports.)

Supporting National Preventive Mechanisms

The Fund has also supported the establishment and functioning of national preventive mechanisms (NPMs). Projects supported by the Fund included:

  • Drafting laws establishing national preventive mechanisms in accordance with the Optional Protocol;

  • Elaborating calls for nominations, terms of reference, and organization of public hearings of NPM candidates;

  • Training of NPM members on international standards concerning torture and ill-treatment, reporting and monitoring techniques;

  • Elaborating internal rules and methodologies, the production of manuals and the development of interview protocols and guidelines;

  • Developing NPM strategic plans and supporting operational efficiency;

  • Elaborating NPM documents (annual reports and their translations into national languages)

  • Improving monitoring of specific institutions or issues (psychiatric hospitals, health systems in places of detention), collaboration with national monitoring bodies established under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and enhanced protection of specific populations (women, persons with disabilities, children and persons with HIV/AIDS;

  • Supporting collaboration between NPMs and other stakeholders (government authorities, civil society, professional groups);

  • Purchasing technical equipment (cameras and equipment to measure the size and humidity of cells); and

  • Promoting visibility of NPMs through public meetings, radio campaigns, brochures, leaflet and posters.

Capacity building

Projects supported by the Special Fund have contributed significantly to capacity-building for a wide range of key actors in torture prevention. This includes more than:

  • 120 judges
  • 600 police officers
  • 60 health professionals
  • 178 prison staff
  • 110 representatives of authorities
  • members of more than 15 civil society organizations.

Education and knowledge

Fund projects have also created a variety of information materials to help those affected by torture. These include:

  • 25,000 booklets
  • 10,000 posters
  • 500 guides
  • 10,000 flyers
  • 1,000 manuals.

Many of these items have been translated into minority or migrant workers languages, and distributed within places of detention, including in remote areas.

    View the full list of awarded grants.

    An example of a project supported by the Fund

    woman signs an agreementIn 2020, the OPCAT Special Fund supported a project of Avocats Sans Frontières, increasing capacity of 91 members of the police, gendarmerie forces, the National Penitentiary Administration, the National Human Rights Commission, the judiciary and the bar association to prevent and address torture and ill-treatment in Mali.

     

    The country faces many challenges from arbitrary detention, prison overcrowding and insufficient training of prison staff that contribute to the torture and ill-treatment of persons deprived of their liberty. The project also strengthened the capacity of the National Human Rights Commission, the designated National Preventive Mechanism – a key actor of torture prevention in Mali.