2016: Monitoring psychiatric institutions

The situation of persons deprived of their liberty in psychiatric institutions and the fact that they find themselves at high risk of abuses that can amount to torture or other forms of ill-treatment, has received increasing attention at the international level over the last decade, following the adoption of the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities.

 “While the prohibition of torture may have originally applied primarily in the context of interrogation, punishment or intimidation of a detainee, the international community has begun to recognize that torture may also occur in other contexts.”

UN Special Rapporteur on Torture (Report to the Human Rights Council, 1 February 2013, A/HRC/22/53)

Psychiatric institutions are non-traditional places of deprivation of liberty that fall within the mandate of torture prevention bodies created under the OPCAT. The APT therefore decided to focus the third Jean-Jacques Gautier Symposium, held in Geneva on 6-7 September 2016, on the monitoring of psychiatric institutions. During two days, some 15 NPMs from all regions of the world and other monitoring bodies and experts discussed and exchanged on the challenges faced in addressing situations conducive to abuse and ill-treatment of persons held in psychiatric institutions, and examined existing standards applicable to involuntary commitment and treatment in such facilities.

The objective of the Symposium was for participants to develop a better understanding and knowledge of the risk factors faced by persons held in psychiatric institutions and for NPMs to strengthen cooperation with other actors in order to adapt strategies and working methods to address key issues related to this detention environment.

Outcome report

Concept note: Monitoring psychiatric institutions


Monitoring psychiatric institutions from APT Geneva on Vimeo.