Geri Council of Europe anti-torture Committee (CPT) publishes response of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the report on its February 2002 visits

In a response published today, the authorities of the Kingdom of the Netherlands give their views on the issues raised by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) after visits to the Kingdom in Europe and the Netherlands Antilles in February 2002.

As regards the Kingdom in Europe, the authorities react favourably to a number of recommendations and comments made by the CPT. By way of example, routine weekly strip-searching of EBI (high security) prisoners in Vught has stopped, and criteria for the prolongation of placement in the EBI have been defined more precisely, taking into account the behaviour of the prisoner concerned. Certain improvements have also been introduced at Bloemendaal Special Detention Facility (holding persons suspected of carrying drugs in corpore), in particular, regarding material conditions, staff resources, medical confidentiality, and information provided to detainees. Triport Detention Units for the holding of persons refused entry and criminal suspects at Schiphol Airport have now been replaced by new facilities, designed to meet all relevant standards. As regards nursing homes, the authorities are examining the difficulties relating to the recruitment and retention of trained staff, and the related effects on the quality of care, as well as taking steps to improve further the legal protection of vulnerable patients (in particular, in the context of the use of means of restraint and seclusion).

The position of the authorities concerning certain fundamental safeguards during police custody remains unchanged. 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 interrogation purposes. 

As regards the Netherlands Antilles, the authorities respond favourably to a number of recommendations concerning Philipsburg Central Police Station and Pointe Blanche Prison (St-Maarten) and Bon Futuro Prison (Curacao). The authorities confirm that the renovation of the cell complex at Philipsburg Central Police Station has been completed and the very small (0.65 m²) holding cells taken out of service. Positive steps taken at Pointe Blanche Prison include the completion of the renovation programme and remedying the problem of the quality of drinking water; at Bon Futuro Prison, they include the appointment of a governor, the implementation of regime and rehabilitation programmes, and the end of the practice of placing prisoners, for control purposes, in the Forensic Observation Centre (FOBA). At both establishments, a classification and allocation system for detainees has been introduced and an increase in the flexibility of visit entitlements has been granted. However, there are still severe difficulties as regards the recruitment of fully qualified prison staff.

Both the report on the visits (published on 15 November 2002) and the response of the authorities of the Kingdom of the Netherlands are available on the CPT's website (

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