27 March 2014
The United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) is due to visit Nigeria next week for talks on strengthening the authorities’ efforts to prevent and eliminate torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees.
Subcommittee Chairperson Malcolm Evans and fellow committee member Victor Madrigal-Borloz will be in Nigeria from 1 to 3 April and are scheduled to meet government officials and hold technical discussions with the relevant ministries, as well as meeting civil society organisations.
Their talks in Abuja will focus on advising and assisting the Nigerian authorities regarding the measures that they need to take in order to be in compliance with the obligations contained in the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Torture (OPCAT), which Nigeria ratified in 2009.
They will also hold discussions on the role, achievements and challenges of Nigeria’s independent National Preventive Mechanism - a body which the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Torture requires be established and which must have the authority and capacity to visit any place where persons are deprived of their liberty in order to help prevent torture or ill-treatment.
“This is our first visit to Nigeria since it ratified the Optional Protocol. We will be exploring what has been done and the further steps the country needs to take to effectively prevent torture and ill-treatment of people held in detention, and so meet its Optional Protocol obligations,” said Mr Evans.
The Subcommittee has a mandate to visit all States that are party to the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Torture and to make recommendations to the authorities to provide for effective safeguards against torture and ill-treatment of persons deprived of their liberty.
“Our aim is to ensure that this vital work is done, and to encourage and support all those involved in the doing of it, at whatever level or capacity,” Mr Evans said.
The Optional Protocol on the Prevention of Torture has to date been ratified by 72 countries.
Under its mandate, the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture can conduct unannounced visits to places of deprivation ion of liberty.
The Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture communicates its recommendations and observations to the State by means of a confidential report, and if necessary to National Preventive Mechanisms. However, State parties are encouraged to request that the Subcommittee makes these reports public.
The Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture also reserves the right to amend its plan of work should the circumstances so require, and will inform the State party or national preventive mechanism as soon as is practical.
Find out more about the Optional Protocol: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cat/opcat/index.htm
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