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Non-compliance with Article 17

Subcommitee on prevention of torture

The list of States parties whose compliance with obligations set out in Article 17 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) is substantially overdue is as follows:

  1. Afghanistan
  2. Belize
  3. Benin
  4. Burundi
  5. Central African Republic
  6. Democratic Republic of the Congo
  7. Gabon
  8. Ghana
  9. Liberia
  10. Nauru
  11. Nigeria
  12. Philippines
  13. South Sudan
  14. State of Palestine

Article 17 provides that: “Each State Party shall maintain, designate or establish, at the latest one year after the entry into force of the present Protocol or of its ratification or accession, one or several independent national preventive mechanisms for the prevention of torture at the domestic level. (…).”

Considering that the objective of the OPCAT is to establish a system of regular visits by national bodies to places where people are or might be deprived of their liberty, in order to prevent torture and ill-treatment, the establishment of a National Preventive Mechanism is a fundamental obligation of States that are parties to the Optional Protocol.

At its 28th session, held from 15 to 19 February 2016, the Subcommittee decided to take further actions relating to States parties whose compliance with the obligations set out in article 17 of the Optional Protocol was substantially overdue.

In April 2016, the Subcommittee addressed a letter to all States parties whose compliance with article 17 of OPCAT was, at least, three years overdue, inviting them to provide written information on steps taken to comply with their obligations under that provision. The Subcommittee also informed the States parties concerned that, at its 29th session, held from 13 to 17 June 2016, it would consider the information provided and make public a list of these States parties.

After consideration of the information provided by States parties, the SPT adopted a decision to make public, on its website, the list of States parties whose compliance with article 17 of the Optional Protocol was, at least, three years overdue, in line with the mandate of the Subcommittee set out in article 11 of the Optional Protocol.

After consulting with the States parties concerned and considering the information they provided, the SPT reviews the above list periodically, including by removing immediately from it those States that comply with article 17 of the OPCAT. The Subcommittee remains committed to cooperating with all States parties by providing them advice and assistance concerning the establishment of their National Preventive Mechanisms.

At its 47th session, held from seven to 17 June 2022, the Subcommittee decided to clarify the criteria for the acceptance of the establishment a national preventive mechanism, under article 17 of the Optional Protocol, and to make the criteria public on its website.

To accept that a national preventive mechanism has been maintained, designated or established, as appropriate, under article 17 of the Optional Protocol, or to remove a State Party from the list of those whose compliance with article 17 is long overdue, a State Party shall provide the Subcommittee, by means of a note verbale, the following:

  1. The fact of such establishment;
  2. A copy of the legal instrument establishing the national preventive mechanism, whether by legislation or another act;
  3. The name of the head of the national preventive mechanism;
  4. The postal address of the national preventive mechanism;
  5. The email address and phone number of the national preventive mechanism;

In addition, the Subcommittee decided that the secretariat shall request immediately all this information from the State Party, if not provided when being notified that a national preventive mechanism has been maintained, designated or established.