Back Council of Europe anti-torture Committee visits the Netherlands

A delegation of the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) carried out a visit to the Netherlands from 2 to 13 May 2016. This was the CPT’s six periodic visit to that country.

One of the main objectives of the visit was to examine the treatment and care of patients placed in penitentiary psychiatric centres. The CPT’s delegation also examined, for the first time, the situation of patients placed against their will in two civil psychiatric hospitals. Further, three prisons were visited to review the conditions of detention and the regime applied to prisoners, including persons sentenced to life imprisonment. The treatment of persons in police custody and the safeguards applicable to them was also reviewed.
In the course of the visit, the CPT’s delegation held consultations with Klaas Dijkhoff, State Secretary of Security and Justice as well as with senior officials from the Ministry of Security and Justice and the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport.
Further, the CPT’s delegation met Reinier van Zutphen, the National Ombudsman. Meetings were also held with representatives of the National Preventive Mechanism and of the Human Rights Institute as well as non-governmental organisations active in areas of concern to the CPT.
At the end of the visit, the delegation presented its preliminary observations to the Dutch authorities.
The visit was carried out by the following members of the CPT: Jim McManus (Head of delegation), Dagmar Breznoščáková, Matthías Halldórsson, Julia Kozma, Esther Marogg and Hans Wolff.
They were supported by Julien Attuil-Kayser and Petr Hnátík of the CPT's Secretariat, and assisted by Timothy Harding, psychiatrist and former Director of the University Institute of Forensic Medicine, Geneva, Switzerland.
The delegation visited the following places of deprivation of liberty:
Law enforcement establishments

  • Alkmaar Police Station (Head Office)
  • Amersfoort Police Station
  • Baarn Police Station
  • Deventer Police Station
  • Houten Police Detention Facility
  • Zwolle Police Station
  • Court House detention facility, Alkmaar


  • De Schie Prison, Rotterdam
  • Krimpen aan den IJssel Prison
  • Nieuwersluis Prison, Utrecht (targeted visit on remand prisoners)
  • Scheveningen Prison, The Hague (visit of to the Penitentiary Psychiatric Centre)
  • Zuyder Bos Prison, Heerhugowaard
  • Zwolle Prison (visit of the Penitentiary Psychiatric Centre)

 Civil psychiatric establishments

  •  High and Intensive Care Ward of the Psychiatric Centre “Rielerenk”, Deventer
  • “Zon en Schild” Psychiatric Hospital, Amersfoort.
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