To mark the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, held every year on 26 June, Mykola Gnatovskyy, President of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), and Malcolm Evans, Chair of the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT), have made the following joint statement:
“As the world continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to emphasise the absolute nature of the prohibition of torture and other forms of ill-treatment. As a captive population, persons deprived of their liberty are particularly vulnerable to violations of this right.
Consequently, the role of torture prevention bodies – at the global, regional, and national levels – remains of primordial importance. We welcome the action taken by a number of States to reduce overcrowding and to find new means to maintain and improve contact between detained persons and the outside world.
This approach draws inspiration from the recommendations made by the CPT in its “Statement of principles relating to the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty in the context of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic”, issued on 20 March 2020, and those by the SPT in its “Advice to States parties and national preventive mechanisms relating to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic”, issued on 7 April 2020.
We call upon on the authorities of the States which have not yet taken such measures to implement them as a matter of urgency. Any additional restrictions that may have been placed on persons deprived of their liberty to limit the spread of COVID-19 should be lifted as soon as they are no longer required.”