Tilbage Council of Europe anti-torture Committee publishes report on the Netherlands

The Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) has today published the report on its fourth periodic visit to the Netherlands in June 2007.
As regards the Kingdom in Europe, the CPT considers that the boats ‘Kalmar’ and ‘Stockholm’, used for detaining irregular migrants, are unsuitable for prolonged detention and should be taken out of service at the earliest opportunity. By contrast, the conditions in the Rotterdam airport Expulsion Centre were found to be adequate.

The CPT visited the high-security terrorist departments at ‘De Schie’ and ‘Vught’ Prisons. It has recommended that placement in such departments be based upon a comprehensive, individual risk assessment. Further, every placement in a terrorist department should be regularly reviewed, based upon criteria clearly laid down in law. In addition, the CPT has concerns about the very restrictive regime in these departments, which may in certain cases lead to de facto isolation of a prisoner.

With respect to the ‘De Hartelborgt’ Youth Detention Centre, the CPT has recommended various improvements concerning care, treatment and the disciplinary regime. Amongst other things, an individualised pedagogical or treatment plan should be drawn up for each resident, collective sanctions should not be permitted and the use of so-called ‘time out’ should be regulated.

The CPT continues to have concerns about certain fundamental safeguards during police custody. In particular, criminal suspects are still not entitled to have access to a lawyer during the initial period of detention (of up to six hours) by the police for examination purposes.

As regards Aruba, last visited in 1994, the CPT has recommended that the authorities adopt a vigorous policy to combat police ill-treatment, and that periods of detention on police premises be substantially reduced. The CPT has welcomed the action recently taken by the Aruban authorities to improve the material conditions in police stations, such as in Oranjestad, and recommends that efforts be made to ensure minimum standards for police detention are sustained.

In respect of immigration detainees, the CPT has recommended, among other measures, an improvement in material conditions, regime activities and access to medical care for persons detained at the ‘Centro pa detencion di illegalnan’.

KIA Prison is the subject of numerous recommendations concerning, inter alia, inter-prisoner violence. Further, an increase in constructive activities for prisoners and an improvement in the provision of health care, in particular psychiatric and psychological care, are essential requirements.

In the course of the visit to the Netherlands Antilles, several allegations of physical ill-treatment by the police were received. The CPT has recommended the adoption of a vigorous policy to combat police ill-treatment. Prolonged detention on police premises is criticised once again, and the conditions of detention in certain police stations such as Kralendijk, were found to be unacceptable. The Netherlands Antilles authorities have undertaken a programme of refurbishment.

As regards the immigration detention centre, ‘Illegalen Barakken’, the Committee has made a number of recommendations with regard to material conditions, the lack of activities and the need to provide at least one hour of outdoor exercise every day.

Bon Futuro Prison was found to be clearly dangerous and unsafe for both prisoners and staff. Measures have been identified aimed at eradicating ill-treatment by staff and preventing inter-prisoner violence. The CPT has recommended in particular that members of the emergency response team be adequately selected, trained and supervised. In addition, a broad range of recommendations have been made concerning staffing levels, material conditions and access to meaningful activities and to health-care.

As regards the remand prison on the island of Bonaire, the CPT has recommended urgent action to provide inmates with organised health-care, an appropriate regime of activities and access to outdoor exercise.

The CPT’s visit report is available in English on the CPT’s website: http://www.cpt.coe.int
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