CPT: 25 years of torture prevention in Europe

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) was the first regional body to realise the idea of APT’s founder Jean-Jacques Gautier: protecting people deprived of their liberty through a system of independent visits to places of detention. Today, after 25 years of activities, the CPT is a major actor in the prevention of torture in the European region.

The CPT has the right to visit any place of deprivation of liberty, at any time, in any of the 47 Member States of the Council of Europe. Over the past 25 years, it has carried out thousands of visits to police stations, prisons, immigration detention centres, psychiatric establishments and social care homes. Its reports to State authorities include key recommendations on how to improve detention conditions and prevent torture and ill-treatment.

On 2 March 2015, the Council of Europe organised a conference in Strasbourg, France, entitled “The CPT at 25: taking stock and moving forward”. The objective was to give CPT members and other stakeholders the opportunity to reflect together on the achievements and challenges over the last quarter of a century.

Several challenges for preventive monitoring were discussed, such as impunity in police and prison contexts, solitary confinement and juveniles in detention. The CPT further prepared, ahead of the event, a background paper on issues for discussion.

The APT participated in the conference, which gathered representatives of Council of Europe Member States, European representatives of the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture, National Preventive Mechanisms, non-governmental organizations and experts on detention issues and torture prevention.