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Bosnia and Herzegovina must establish torture prevention body immediately, UN experts urge

20 December 2022



The United Nations torture prevention experts urged Bosnia and Herzegovina to establish a torture prevention body at the State level without further delay to protect people deprived of their liberty against torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

The call came at the end of the first visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina by the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) from 11 to 17 December.

“It is vital that people deprived of their liberty be treated in accordance with the international standards and domestic legislation. Their rights must be fully recognised and implemented effectively. The establishment of a monitoring body at the State level will greatly assist in this important and pressing task,” said Zdenka Perović, who led the delegation.

The SPT stressed the importance of establishing a fully independent monitoring body to visit all detention places regularly and to help prevent torture and ill-treatment, as required by the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT).

During the visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, the delegation met with government officials, representatives of the United Nations and civil society, and held discussions with the Institution of Ombudspersons of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The SPT also visited police stations, penitentiaries, health and rehabilitation institutions, as well as a detention facility for migrants, where they conducted confidential interviews with staff members and people held in those institutions.

“We observed good practices and noted a willingness to improve conditions for people deprived of liberty. Our report will outline a number of important recommendations, and we will follow developments closely,” added Perović.

Following the visit, the SPT will submit a confidential report to the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina containing observations and recommendations to further prevent torture and ill-treatment of people deprived of their liberty.

The SPT delegation was composed of Zdenka Perović, Head of Delegation (Montenegro), Massimiliano Bagaglini (Italy), Marie Brasholt (Denmark), and Abdallah Ounnir (Morocco).

For media inquiries or for more information, please contact

Armen Avetisyan at [email protected]
Vivian Kwok at [email protected]


The Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture monitors States parties’ adherence to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, which to date has been ratified by 91 countries. The Subcommittee is made up of 25 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. The Subcommittee has a mandate to visit States that have ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, during the course of which it may visit any place where persons may be deprived of their liberty and assist those States in preventing torture and ill-treatment. The Subcommittee communicates its observations and recommendations to States through confidential reports, which it encourages countries to make public.

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