Colombia says no to the OPCAT

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Colombia will not be the 15th Latin American state to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT).

During the second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Colombia, on 23 April at the United Nations in Geneva, eleven states (Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Montenegro, Peru, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Tunisia, Turkey and Uruguay) recommended that Colombia ratify the OPCAT.

Three days later, at the adoption of the UPR’s preliminary report, the head of Colombia's delegation declared that they did not accept this recommendation, since Colombia was already sufficiently equipped with effective instruments in its regulatory and institutional framework to address the issue of the prevention of torture.

The APT regrets Colombia’s decision not to ratify the OPCAT, especially considering that Colombia was one of the original countries to support the adoption of the Optional Protocol at  the UN General Assembly in December 2002. Colombia is now one of the few Latin American countries that have not yet ratified the torture prevention treaty.

Colombia’s current prison crisis has opened up a debate on the need to reform the system. The APT would like to reiterate that the ratification of the Optional Protocol and the creation of an independent system of regular visits to all places of deprivation of liberty would represent valuable tools for the Colombian state and society in the prevention of torture and ill-treatment.