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UN Torture Prevention Body to visit Ecuador amid prison crisis

22 September 2022

GENEVA (22 September 2022) – The UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) will visit Ecuador from 25 September to 1 October 2022 in light of recent prison riots and violence.

Rights experts from the SPT were alarmed by the ongoing violence within Ecuador’s prison system, which has led to the death of hundreds of inmates in recent years.

“Our primary focus of this visit will be around the ongoing prison crisis, as well as assessing how the authorities and the national preventive mechanism of Ecuador have implemented our recommendations after our first visit,” said Maria Luisa Romero, Head of the Delegation and member of the SPT.

The SPT first visited Ecuador in 2014 to advise and provide technical assistance to Ecuador’s national preventive mechanism (NPM), the country’s independent torture prevention watchdog.

“We look forward to working closely with the NPM during this visit,” she said, adding that, “we will formulate our new recommendations to the state and the NPM based on observations made during the mission, including visits to places of deprivation of liberty to observe conditions of detention.”

Ecuador ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) in 2010.

Under its mandate, the Subcommittee can visit all States parties to the Optional Protocol and carry out unannounced visits to places where people are or may be deprived of their liberty. To follow up on its previous recommendations, the SPT delegation will meet with government authorities, civil society and UN agencies, as well as with the NPM, with whom the Delegation will conduct joint visits to places of deprivation of liberty.

Following the mission, the SPT will share its recommendations with the authorities and the NPM in respective reports. The report submitted to the State will remain confidential until Ecuador decides to make it public.

The SPT delegation is comprised of the following members: Maria Luisa Romero, Head of Delegation (Panama), Maria Andrea Casamento (Argentina), Marco Feoli (Costa Rica), and Patricia Arias (Chile).

ENDS

Background

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.

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the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture

For more information

For media inquiries or more information, please contact:

Ecuador:

Virginia Vasiliou Thompson +41 (0) 22 917 4230  /
[email protected]

Geneva:

Vivian Kwok at +41 (0) 22 917 9362 / 
[email protected]  or

UN Human Rights Office Media Section at +41 (0) 22 928 9855 / 
[email protected]


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