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"Does torture prevention work?"

Which interventions contribute to reducing the risk of torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment? Or, to put it more simply and crudely: “Does torture prevention work?”

This is the overall question guiding Professor Richard Carver and his team during a three-year research project, launched in April 2012. The research project is commissioned and supported by the APT but is conducted independently. The aim is to identify the key factors leading to a reduction in the risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

In 2013, the team did four pilot studies in Turkey, Argentina, Norway and the United Kingdom. The second research phase, which will conclude in February 2015, includes in-depth country studies by research partners in Chile, Ethiopia, Georgia, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Israel, Kyrgyzstan, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, and Tunisia. The researchers study how and if the presence of preventive measures – such as such as an appropriate legal framework, detention safeguards and monitoring of places of detention – has had an impact on the level of torture, over a period of 30 years (1985-2014).

The analysis of findings will be completed by summer 2015, and the full research report will be published after that. This in-depth research will give greater insights into the effectiveness of torture prevention interventions. The findings will be of great importance for the APT and for other organisations working to prevent torture. They can also be used to develop effective evaluation tools for, among others, National Preventive Mechanisms.


About Richard Carver

Law Professor and human rights expert Richard Carver, from Oxford Brookes University in the UK, was the lead researcher behind the acclaimed study on Assessing the effectiveness of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), published by the International Council on Human Rights Policy.

Richard Carver


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