Preventing ill-treatment of persons deprived of their liberty in Europe
The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) organises visits to places of detention, in order to assess how persons deprived of their liberty are treated. These include places where migrants can be held, such as border guard stations and holding centres for immigration detainees, but migrants might also been visited in places such as prisons, police stations and psychiatric hospitals.
CPT delegations have unlimited access to places of detention, and the right to move inside such places without restriction. They interview persons deprived of their liberty in private, and communicate freely with anyone who can provide information.
After each visit, the CPT sends a detailed report to the State concerned. This report includes the CPT’s findings, and its recommendations, comments and requests for information. The CPT also requests a detailed response to the issues raised in its report. These reports and responses form part of the ongoing dialogue with the States concerned. The CPTs reports and the governments’ responses are, in principle, confidential. Nevertheless, a great deal of information about the CPT’s work is in the public domain. The CPT’s full title is the “European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment”. This highlights two important features: first, it is European in coverage, and second, it not only covers “torture”, but also a whole range of situations which could amount to “inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.