Brazilian NPM law creates new system to prevent torture

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

On 2 August 2013, President Dilma Roussef signed the legislation creating the National System to Prevent and Combat Torture. The system creates two bodies aimed at monitoring places of detention and promoting the rights of persons deprived of their liberty: the Committee and the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM).

Since Brazil is a federal state, the law encourages states to create their own mechanisms at the local level, which will then become part of the national system. More than six years after Brazil’s ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, the creation of this new system constitutes a major step forward for the prevention of torture in the country. The APT welcomes initial steps towards implementation, such as the approval by the Senate of a bill to ensure that the new positions of NPM members will be included in the national budget of 2014.

The APT is confident that the Federal Government will create the necessary conditions for an effective NPM and guarantee, in particular, its functional independence, the independence of its personnel and the financial and human resources required to carry out its mandate. It is essential that the selection process of the future members of the Committee and the National Preventive Mechanism is carried out through an open and transparent process, with the participation of all interested actors. A decree which regulates the NPM law and the selection process of the members is currently being drafted.