UN torture prevention body’s country visits for 2016 – agenda includes Tunisia, Ukraine, Mexico and Niger
25 November 2015
GENEVA (25 November 2015) – Tunisia, Ukraine, Mexico and Niger are among the countries the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) plans to visit in 2016.
The SPT’s role is to prevent and eliminate torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment of detainees, and it has a mandate to visit all States that are parties to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT).
During the first half of next year, the SPT will visit Chile, Cyprus, Romania, Tunisia and Ukraine, it has been confirmed, with the exact dates to be finalised.
In addition, the SPT has announced that it will visit Kazakhstan, Mauritania, Mexico, Mozambique and Niger, with this work beginning in the second half of 2016.
Under the SPT’s mandate, members may make unannounced visits to places where people are deprived of their liberty, including prisons, police stations and psychiatric hospitals. The SPT also works with national governments and provides advice and assistance to national independent monitoring bodies known as National Preventive Mechanisms (NPM).
“The next twelve months or so will see our most extensive programme of visits to date - a direct result of the increasing number of countries that have ratified the Optional Protocol,” said Malcolm Evans, Chairperson of the SPT.
“While more ratifications are welcome, the SPT needs to make the most effective use of the time we have for each visit. We will be addressing a broad range of issues over the next year, but also aiming to respond to the most pressing concerns related to torture prevention in each particular State and helping the work of national monitoring bodies,” he added.
The Optional Protocol on the Prevention of Torture came into force in 2006 and has to date been ratified by 80 countries. During a country mission, the SPT delegation visits places of deprivation of liberty. At the end of the visit, the SPT communicates its recommendations and observations to the State by means of a confidential report, and if necessary to NPMs. State parties are encouraged to request that the SPT makes these reports public.