The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) has issued a Public Statement on Belgium today. This Statement, which is made in application of Article 10 (2) of the ECPT*, addresses the ongoing failure of the Belgian authorities to put in place a minimum level of service to guarantee the rights of inmates during periods of industrial action by prison staff.
In its Statement, the Committee makes it clear that the failure to comply with this requirement may result in a large number of inmates being subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment, or in a worsening of situations already regarded as intolerable, in endangering the health and life of these persons and in compromising the security of the establishments concerned. The lack of any practical progress over many years in establishing a viable system for these rights to be upheld in all circumstances, in particular in the context of industrial action, is described by the Committee as “a serious failure to co-operate”.
* Article 10, paragraph 2 of the ECPT provides that the Committee itself may issue a public statement if a Party to the Convention “fails to co-operate or refuses to improve the situation in the light of the Committee's recommendations”.