UN torture prevention experts announce visits to Belize, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia and Poland

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GENEVA (24 November 2017) – UN experts on the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) will visit Belize, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia and Poland next year to assess the treatment of people deprived of their liberty and measures taken for their protection against torture and ill-treatment.

The decision to visit these States was taken at the November session of the SPT. In June, the subcommittee identified Burundi, Portugal and Uruguay as other States to visit in 2018. The exact dates of the visit will be announced at a later stage.

Under the SPT’s mandate, members may make unannounced visits to any places where people are or may be deprived of their liberty, including prisons, police stations, centres for migrants, security services, interrogation facilities and psychiatric hospitals.

In addition, the SPT also provides advice to national authorities on the establishment of a monitoring body, known as a National Preventive Mechanism (NPM), that monitors all places where people are or could be deprived of their liberty.

Under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT), States parties are obliged, within a year of ratifying OPCAT, to set up an NPM.

In 2017, the SPT visited Niger, Hungary, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bolivia, Mongolia, Panama, Rwanda (currently suspended), Morocco, and Spain, and will visit Burkina Faso next month.

ENDS

For more information, please contact:

Joao Nataf, SPT Secretary, Human Rights Treaty Division: + 41 (0) 22 917 9102/ jnataf@ohchr.org

For media inquiries, please contact:

Jeremy Laurence, +41 (0) 22 /917 9383/jlaurence@ohchr.org

Background:

The SPT’s role is to prevent and eliminate torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment of detainees, and it has a mandate to visit all States that are parties to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT).

The OPCAT is a unique international human rights treaty, which assists States to prevent torture and other forms of ill-treatment.

The Optional Protocol on the Prevention of Torture has to date been ratified by 84 countries. The SPT communicates its recommendations and observations to the State by means of a confidential report, and if necessary to National Preventive Mechanisms. However, State parties are encouraged to request that the SPT makes these reports public. More about the SPT: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/OPCAT/Pages/OPCATIndex.aspx

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