Brazil approves the first state law to create a local preventive mechanism under the OPCAT

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Alagoas has become the first decentralized entity of the federal state of Brazil to create by law its own preventive mechanism in accordance with the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture. The bill of law, which had been introduced by the governor of the state in May 2009, was approved by the State Legislature on December 3rd.

The bill of law establishes a system for the prevention of torture at the state of Alagoas comprised of (i) a State Committee for Preventing and Combatting Torture and (ii) a Mechanism for Preventing and Combatting Torture which will function as preventive mechanism under OPCAT. The bill of law now awaits the signature of the governor in order for it to enter into force.

This approval follows a recent activity held by APT in the capital of the state of Alagosas, Maceió, in partnership with the State Secretariat for Women Rights, Citizenship and Human Rights of Alagoas and the Human Rights Commission of the Bar Association of Alagoas, which aimed at raising awareness among local actors about OPCAT while at the same time advancing and strengthening the process of legislative approval of the bill of law. The one day seminar brought together local actors from a wide range of entities such as governmental departments, the district attorney's office, law enforcement agencies, professional organizations and civil society organizations, as well as the head of the National Programme Against Torture of the National Human Rights Secretariat of the Presidency of Brazil, Ms. Maria Auxiliadora Arantes. Mrs. Arantes coordinates the National Committe for the Prevention and Combat of Torture (CNPCT), a multi-institutional body in charge of leading the process of creation of the national preventive mechanism by federal law and the implementation of the National Plan of Integrated Action for Preventing and Combatting Torture, launched by the federal government in 2006.

It is worth noting that so far Brazil has not yet formally designated its national preventive mechanism, as the current federal bill of law draft is still going through final revisions by the CNPCT and will still need to go through inter-ministerial negotiations in order to be submitted to the National Congress. The latest version of the bill of law draft foresees that each state of Brazil shall have its own local preventive mechanism which in conjunction with the national preventive mechanism at federal level will comprise a national system for the prevention of torture.


NPM Law, State of Alagoas
Agenda seminar Alagoas November 2009
National Plan of Integrated Action for Preventing and Combatting Torture (Plano de Ações Integradas para a Prevenção e Combate à Tortura