Impact of Prevention
The work of the APT draws on decades of experiences of support and cooperation with actors involved in monitoring, documenting and analysing the human rights situation in places of detention. It is based on testimonies from those with first hand experiences as victims of torture or from defending the human rights of persons in detention. This experience has demonstrated that regular visits to places of detention is one of the best means to prevent torture and other ill-treatment.
The possibility of unannounced external visits has an important deterring effect, when individuals and institutions know that any abuse can be discovered and exposed. Visits also give independent monitors an opportunity to examine first hand the conditions of detention and the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty and to recommend concrete measures for improvement.
We also know that although visits to places of detention should be a central part of any preventive system, they must be complemented with additional measures. Prevention aims to address the root causes of torture and other ill-treatment and to be successful, it must involve a holistic approach to society as a whole, addressing the functioning of justice systems, rule of law, public perceptions of torture etc. Effective prevention means to create an environment where torture is not likely to occur.
Assessing, monitoring and measuring the effectiveness of torture prevention raise a number of important questions, such as:
- What are the measures and mechanisms which contribute in reducing the risk of torture and other ill-treatment?
- Can torture prevalence be measured and if so what are the elements influencing increases or decreases in prevalence over time?
- What are the common assumptions with regards to effective means to prevent torture from occurring?
The APT uses indicators and benchmarks to measure the impact of its work
To further shed light on the most effective measures and mechanisms to prevent torture, the APT commissioned in 2012 a multi-year research project. The research project is led by law professor and human rights expert Richard Carver from Oxford Brookes University in the UK. Read more about the project.