Portugal - OPCAT Situation
Ombudsperson's Office (Provedor de Justiça)
Resolution 32/2013 of the Council of Ministers (9 May 2013)
Ombudsperson's OfficeLaw no. 9/91 (9 April 2013) and Constitution of the Portuguese Republic (relevant extracts)
Portugal ratified the OPCAT at the domestic level in December 2012 and deposited the instrument of ratification with the United Nations on 15 January 2013.
In May 2013, Portugal designated its Ombudsperson's Office as NPM, through the means of a resolution adopted by the Council of Ministers. The NPM started to be operational in March 2014.
The SPT member who is the SPT Focal Point for Portugal is available here.
To carry out the NPM functions, the Ombudsperson's Office has created an independent structure within the Office, composed of:
- The Visitors Group
- The Coordination Committee
- The Consultative Council
- The Administrative Staff
The NPM (Visitors Group) is in charge of conducting the visits to places of detention. The Coordination Committee, composed of three persons, has the duty to implement the plan of activities and to monitor the visits conducted by the Visitors Group.
The NPM is also assisted by a Consultative Council composed of 12 members:
- The Ombudsperson;
- one representative of the Parliamentary Commission of Fundamental Rights;
- one representative of the Supreme Judicial Council;
- one representative of the Supreme Council of the Public Prosecutors;
- one representative of the Portuguese Lawyers Bar Association;
- one representative of the Medical Association;
- one representative of the Psychologist Association;
- three individuals of high and recognized ethical and civic status and two other members representing NGOs, appointed by the Ombudsperson.
The Consultative Council will hold meetings at least twice a year. Its main competences are: evaluating the annual plan of activities and recommend visits; evaluating the activity of the NPM, namely in the preparation and follow-up of visiting protocols; evaluating the annual report.
Rules have been adopted to regulate the competency and procedure in respect of the Council's activities, as well as the NPM visits.
An Advisory Council composed of civil society is also being established.
The Ombudsperson's Office publishes an annual report each year and submits it to the Parliament. The 2013 report contained a specific section on the NPM. However, the APT was informed that, from 2014 onwards, the NPM report will be separate from the Ombudsperson's report to the Parliament, albeit presented on the same grounds and possibly at the same time. Annual reports are available on the Ombudsperson's website.
Other reports, such as visit and thematic reports, may be available on the NPM’s website.