2012 will mark a greater engagement at the domestic level for the UN preventive body

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

At the end of its November 2011 session, the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture announced its programme of work for 2012, which breaks new grounds for the work of the Subcommittee.

For the first time since its establishment, it will conduct "NPM visits" to three States Parties (Honduras, Republic of Moldova and Senegal), in order to address issues regarding the situation of the NPMs in those countries. In addition to these NPM visits, the SPT will continue its traditional programme of work and will conduct in-country missions to three additional States Parties (Argentina, Gabon and Kyrgyzstan).

In relation to the innovative "NPM visits", the objectives of the SPT missions may differ from one country to another. In Honduras and Senegal, a new body was established by law to perform the NPM mandate. While the mandate holder has not been appointed yet in Senegal, the Honduras NPM faces operational challenges, in particular regarding financial and human resources. In the Republic of Moldova, a Consultative Council has also been created by law and has been functioning for several years. Following its visit to Moldova in June 2011, the European Committee on Prevention of Torture expressed concerns regarding the lack of financial resources granted to the NPM as well as the lack of involvement of external experts.

In addition, the recent publication of a position paper on National Preventive Mechanisms’ operations (Analytical self-assessment tool for National Preventive Mechanisms, only available in English) reaffirms the engagement of the Subcommittee with National Preventive Mechanisms, their direct partners in prevention.

The 2012 programme of work also echoed the suggestions made by participants during the APT Global Forum on the OPCAT, which took place in November 2011 in Geneva.

The APT welcomes those positive developments and firmly believes that the SPT will contribute to enhance the NPM’s effectiveness in the countries it will visit. The APT will continue to support the Subcommittee’s work, providing strategic advice on NPM developments and facilitating contacts and information at the domestic level.

Key dates for the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture:

16th session: 20 to 24 February 2012
17th session: 18 to 22 June 2012
18th session: 12 to 16 November 2012

In-country missions: The dates of the in-country missions are available for Argentina (18-27 April 2012) and Honduras (30 April – 4 May 2012). For the other countries, they remain confidential.

Elections: Twelve seats will be available for election in October 2012 for a four-year mandate.