UN torture prevention body to make first visit to Belize

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GENEVA (19 April 2018) – The United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) will for the first time visit Belize from 22 to 27 April to advise the Government on the establishment of a national monitoring body for all places of deprivation of liberty, officially known as the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM). The Subcommittee will also assess how people deprived of their liberty are treated, and their conditions of detention, as well as which measures Belize has taken to protect them from torture and ill-treatment.

The SPT has a mandate to visit all States that are parties to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT).

The International obligations of States that have ratified the Optional Protocol must imply tangible changes for people deprived of their liberty. Under OPCAT, the first step is to ensure that detainees are protected from torture and ill-treatment through the establishment of an independent, effective and well-resourced National Preventive Mechanism,” said Sir Malcolm Evans, Chairperson of the SPT, who will head the delegation. “We are visiting Belize in order to assist the authorities to set this mechanism as well as to see the conditions of detention in the country” he added.

Among the places the SPT delegation is due to visit are prisons, police stations, psychiatric centers and other places where people are deprived of their liberty. The experts will also meet government officials, the judiciary, the Ombudsman, UN agencies and representatives of civil society.

The SPT delegation will comprise the following members: Sir Malcolm Evans, Head of Delegation (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland), Mr. Arman Danielyan (Armenia). Ms. June Lopez (Philippines), Ms. Aisha Shujune Muhammad (Maldives) and Mr. Victor Zaharia (Republic of Moldova).

ENDS

For more information and media inquiries, please contact:

In Belize: Joao Nataf, +41 (0) 79 444 4828 / jnataf@ohchr.org  

In Geneva: Julia Gronnevet, +41 (0) 22 917 9310 / jgronnevet@ohchr.org

Background:

The Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment has been ratified by 87 countries. The SPT communicates its recommendations and observations to States by means of a confidential report and, if necessary, to national preventive mechanisms. The SPT work is guided by the principles of confidentiality and cooperation.

The SPT is composed of 25 independent and impartial experts from different regions of the world. For additional information, please go here.

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