Lebanon: Little progress in torture prevention, UN experts find
12 May 2022
GENEVA (12 May 2022) – The UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) is concerned about the prolonged pre-trial detention, overcrowding and deplorable living conditions in places of deprivation of liberty that it observed during its second visit to Lebanon.
"Twelve years have passed but most of the recommendations from our first visit remain to be implemented, and the efforts made by the Government had no major impact on the situation of people deprived of their liberty”, said Nika Kvaratskhelia, Head of the SPT Delegation to Lebanon.
The Delegation visited Lebanon from 4 to 10 May to assess the country’s implementation of the recommendations it had made following an initial visit in 2010. Other objectives of the visit were to establish direct contact with the recently established national monitoring body, and to examine the treatment of people deprived of their liberty and their safeguards against torture and ill-treatment.
During the weeklong visit, the Delegation carried out unannounced visits to places of detention and met government officials, members of the national preventive mechanism, civil society representatives and UN agencies.
The experts expressed serious concern about the persistent problems in the administration of justice, prolonged pre-trial detention, overcrowding and deplorable living conditions in many places of deprivation of liberty.
“The establishment of an independent, well-resourced and properly functioning national preventive mechanism is key to preventing torture and ill-treatment. Lebanon still has to take strong and urgent action in this regard to comply with the Optional Protocol,” Kvaratskhelia added.
The SPT will share its report with Lebanon, including observations and recommendations arising from this visit. The report will remain confidential unless the State party decides to make it public, which the Subcommittee encourages the authorities to do.
To date, the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture has been ratified by 91 states. States are under the obligation to allow the SPT unannounced and unhindered visits to all places where persons are deprived of their liberty. States Parties should also establish a national preventive mechanism, which should conduct regular visits to places throughout the country where people are deprived of liberty.
The mandate of the SPT is to prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of persons deprived of their liberty, through visits and recommendations to States parties to the Optional Protocol. The SPT communicates its recommendations and observations to States by means of a confidential report and, where necessary, to national preventive mechanisms. However, States parties are encouraged to request that the SPT publish the reports.
The SPT is composed of 25 independent and impartial members who are independent human rights experts drawn from around the world, who serve in their personal capacity and not as representatives of States Parties.