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Twentieth anniversary of the OPCAT and fifteenth anniversary of the SPT


09 February 2023


Room XIX in Palais des Nations


Geneva, Switzerland


The OPCAT was adopted on 18 December 2002. On 22 June 2006, ratified by 20 States Parties, the treaty entered into force and subsequently the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) was established in February 2007. In 2022, the OPCAT entered its 20th year of existence and the SPT its 15th year of activity. The SPT is the treaty body established under the OPCAT, working on the prevention of torture with national preventive mechanisms (NPM), relevant State authorities and other organizations in the field of prevention of torture. To ensure the implementation of the OPCAT, as well as an effective prevention of torture, all these actors work in synergy.

The Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture is inviting all interested persons to a conference that will take place on Thursday, 9 February 2023, from 3 to 6 pm, in room XIX in Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland*, which will be followed by a social event at the Palais des Nations.

The event will gather the States Parties to the OPCAT, National Preventive Mechanisms, United Nations Bodies and Mandates, as well as other intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, academia and other participants who are interested in the OPCAT and the prevention of torture and ill-treatment. Throughout the conference, high-level international experts will make keynote presentations, which will be followed by round tables:

  • Round table 1: achievements and challenges for the SPT, for NPMs and other stakeholders in the field of prevention of torture: This panel will focus on the several accomplishments made by the different stakeholders acting in the field of prevention of torture. It will also highlight the difficulties they have encountered, and which challenges they still have to face. It will attempt to answer questions such as: What are the biggest successes in torture prevention? What are the main challenges to the prevention of torture and the establishment of NPMs? Are there any effective ways to overcome those challenges?
  • Round table 2: policies of prevention and pursuit of synergies in torture prevention: This panel will focus on the best policies and practices to prevent torture as well as the best strategies for all stakeholders to work together efficiently. It will attempt to answer questions such as: What are the best policies in torture prevention so far? What are the best ways to coordinate efficiently among all actors working in the field of prevention of torture? What should be avoided, and how, when several actors are acting towards the same goal?
  • Round table 3: status and roles of NPMs in the prevention of torture: This last panel will focus exclusively on NPMs. These mechanisms have a crucial role in ensuring the implementation of the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) and the OPCAT. They are essential allies to the SPT as well as other organizations working in the field of prevention of torture. It will attempt to answer questions such as: How do NPMs work more efficiently? How to they engage with the relevant States authorities? What are their achievements and best strategies to effectively prevent torture on their respective jurisdictions? How do they collaborate with the SPT and other organizations working in torture prevention? How do NMPs foresee the strengthening of their activities?

The conference will be broadcast live on Internet (Central European time between 3 and 6 p.m.) in the three working languages of the SPT (English, French, Spanish).


Individuals or representatives wishing to attend the conference in person must be duly registered or accredited by the United Nations office in Geneva. To register for the conference, individuals or representatives must submit their name (as it appears in their personal identity documents) and the date they will be attending (9 February 2023) on the Indico platform [link] by the 8 February 2023 at 6 pm in order to allow sufficient time for the issuance of a UN access card which will allow them to attend the conference. Individuals or representatives who submit an application that is illegible or incomplete or after the due date will not be accredited.

To receive an access card, applicants must (in addition to registering on Indico) bring a valid identity document with photo, and present in person at the Security and Safety Section of the United Nations Office at Geneva, located at the Villa Les Feuillantines, Avenue de la Paix 13, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland.

Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4.45 p.m. Please note that individuals or representatives must bring their valid identity document with photo ID with them whenever they wish to enter UN offices. Please also note that OHCHR cannot provide invitation letters for visa purposes. It is also important to note that OHCHR cannot provide any assistance with related travel and/or accommodation costs.

Online Participation

UN Web TV:

Additional Information

For general information on the treaty bodies or specific information on the OPCAT, visit the webpage of the Subcommittee on prevention of torture.