The APT was founded on the idea that regular and unannounced visits to places of detention is one of the most effective ways to prevent torture and other forms of ill-treatment of detainees, upholding human dignity.
People deprived of their liberty – in prison, police detention, psychiatric hospitals, detention centres for migrants etc – are vulnerable and particularly at risk of human rights violations. Through the loss of liberty, the detained person depends almost entirely on the authorities and public officials to guarantee his or her protection, rights, and basic necessities. The possibilities for persons deprived of their liberty to influence their own fate are limited, if not non-existent. In such situations, there is an inherent risk of abuse. Independent monitoring visits aim to reduce and mitigate these risks.
Opening the closed world of custody
Places of detention are by definition closed and keep those detained out of the sight of the society. Visiting places of detention is a unique means to observe – to see, smell and hear – the realities of detention and to access first hand information on the treatment of detainees, their conditions and functioning of the places of detention.
Conducting visits to places of detention therefore contributes to open up the closed world of custody and to increase transparency and accountability. This not only reduces risks of torture and other ill-treatment but also contributes to increasing public confidence in the institutions.
What we do
APT’s Detention Monitoring programme provides training and expertise on visiting methodology, develops practical tools and facilitates experience-sharing.