The majority of American States (with the exception of some Caribbean States) has committed to prevent and combat torture by joining both the UN and the Inter-American Conventions against torture.

However, respect for the personal integrity of persons deprived of their liberty remains one of the main challenges in the region. A number of structural practices gravely affect detainees’ rights on a daily basis, including the use of torture and ill-treatment, overcrowding and overpopulation, deficient infrastructures of detention facilities, inadequate medical attention and educational services, high incidence of prison violence and lack of control by the authorities, excessive use of preventive detention, and corruption in prison management.

The APT has been active in the Americas, both at the national and regional level since the 1980s, with a particular emphasis on Latin America. In 2010 APT opened its first regional office, in Panama, and has substantially increased its presence in the region. Currently, the APT is engaged in promoting the OPCAT in the few countries who have not yet ratified the treaty; assisting national actors with the many challenges posed by the establishment of effective and independent NPMs; awareness raising on the need for torture prevention and training of a variety of actors (public defenders, prosecutors, judges, NHRIs and NGOs) involved in monitoring detention facilities.

The APT is thankful for Liechtenstein’s support to our regional office for Latin America in Panama.