2012 October elections at the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture: Follow APT’s guidance to present the best candidate!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) is the largest and most operational UN treaty body. It comprises 25 independent experts and elections take place once every two years to renew the membership. The next elections will take place in October 2012 in Geneva, Switzerland. 

The current 63 States Parties to the OPCAT will be able to select 12 members to join the UN Subcommittee on Torture Prevention. Once elected, the SPT members’ mandate lasts four years and they can be re-elected once.

Elections will take place on 25 October 2012 in Geneva. Candidates should be proposed by States Parties to the Secretary General of the United Nations (OHCHR) before 9 August 2012.

Selection of candidates at the domestic level:

The APT encourages national actors - including national human rights institutions, civil society organisations, academia and National Preventive Mechanisms - to propose adequate candidates to their national authorities as soon as possible.

What kind of candidates could be proposed? They need to be independent and have experience relevant to the prevention of torture and other ill-treatment. They also need to be available for approximately two months throughout a year for SPT related work – such as Geneva meetings, team visits to places of detention and meetings with national actors. Ability to speak at least one or more of UN core languages is essential.

The APT also encourages States Parties to follow a public procedure to select the most appropriate candidate at the domestic level.

To assist national actors in identifying the best candidates at the domestic level, the APT publishes two practical papers:

  1. Guidance on the selection of candidates at the domestic level – it describes the role of an SPT member, the practical aspects of the mandate, the specific skills and expertise needed to be an SPT member as well as guidance on the selection process at the domestic level: English - French - Spanish
  2. An informative note on the current membership of the SPT: Available in English

Procedure to present candidacies:

The following form should be used to present candidacies: (E | F | S). The biographical data of nominated candidates should not exceed 38 lines.

Candidacies should be sent to the following address:

c/o Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights,
United Nations Office at Geneva,
1211 Geneva 10,

And in electronic Word version to ybabuzhina@ohchr.org, with copy to evaldiviadefyfe@ohchr.org

Deadline to present candidacies: 9 August 2012

The APT will publish a paper later this year explaining the process of SPT elections in Geneva.

For more information, please see the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture’s webpage dedicated to the 2012 elections.