Back Council of Europe anti-torture Committee urges states to set up national bodies to monitor places of deprivation of liberty

In its annual report, published today, the Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) urges all Council of Europe member states to ratify a UN treaty and establish independent national bodies to monitor the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty.

The Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT), which entered into force in 2006, establishes an independent UN monitoring body and obliges States Parties to create independent national monitoring structures to combat torture and other forms of ill-treatment, by means of regular visits to places of deprivation of liberty. So far, 31 Council of Europe member states have ratified this protocol and 26 of them have set up or designated the so-called “national preventive mechanisms” (NPMs).

“Monitoring mechanisms at national level can intervene frequently and rapidly, and so are able to make an enormous contribution to the prevention of ill-treatment. That is why it is essential that independent structures of this kind are set up without delay in all countries. They will also be a valuable source of information for the CPT and can bolster the monitoring work the Committee is doing, in particular by following up the implementation of its recommendations”, said Lətif Hüseynov, CPT president.

“In some of the CPT visits, we have identified that NPMs which have already been established lack the resources to carry out their tasks effectively. States should ensure these bodies are equipped with adequate human and material resources and enjoy full access to any place of deprivation of liberty, without any restrictions”, he added.

In its monitoring work, the CPT is closely cooperating with the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (SPT) and the NPMs set up to date.

The CPT’s annual report contains information on the 18 visits it carried out between August 2011 and July 2012 and comments on some of the Committee’s visit reports which have recently been made public.

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