The UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) confirmed its upcoming visits to Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ecuador and Türkiye in the second half of this year, and announced its plans to visit Croatia, Madagascar, Nicaragua, and the State of Palestine during the first half of 2023.
“Visiting States parties is fundamental to exercising our mandate to protect people deprived of liberty in a variety of settings, for example, not only prisons but police stations, psychiatric institutions, closed refugee camps and immigration detention centres,” said Suzanne Jabbour, Chairperson of the SPT.
During each visit, the SPT will also meet with and assist the country’s independent torture prevention watchdog, formally named the National Prevention Mechanism (NPM). “Another key part of our mandate is to strengthen the already designated NPM and support the establishment of the mechanism in countries where it does not yet exist,” Jabbour added.
The Subcommittee visited Brazil, Tunisia, Argentina and Lebanon in the first half of 2022. It will continue its programme of visits for the rest of the year, inspecting places of deprivation of liberty and torture prevention measures in Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ecuador and Türkiye.
The Subcommittee also announced that it would plan to visit Croatia, Madagascar, Nicaragua, and the State of Palestine in the first half of 2023. These decisions were made at its latest confidential session held in Geneva in June. The SPT will announce more visits for 2023 following its next meeting in November.
During the June session, the SPT met with representatives of signatory States, a delegation of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture, the UN Special Rapporteur on Migrants and the UN Special Rapporteur on Afghanistan, among others.
The SPT also recommended different projects in relevant regions of the world for OPCAT Fund to support. The Fund helps finance the implementation of suggestions made by the Subcommittee after its country visits, and sponsors various educational programmes undertaken by the NPMs.
In addition, the SPT decided to add the Central African Republic, which ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture in 2016, to the list of States Parties that are not in compliance with Article 17. Burkina Faso and Mongolia were removed from that list, as these States designated their National Preventive Mechanisms, which is a positive step for torture prevention.
The Article 17 list enumerates State parties that are significantly overdue in establishing their national preventative mechanisms. The list is currently composed of Belize, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Liberia, Nauru, Nigeria, the Philippines, and South Sudan. Under the Optional Protocol, States are obliged to establish their NPM within one year of ratification.