Establishing Uruguay's NPM

Monday, June 28, 2010

The APT will conduct an advisory mission to Uruguay from 28 June to 1 July 2010, in order to contribute to the ongoing debate on the establishment of the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM). Uruguay ratified the OPCAT on 8 December 2005 and designated its new National Human Rights Institution as NPM. The Institute has not been established yet. In that context, the APT will organise, jointly with the Regional Office for South America of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights a two-day seminar (30 June - 1 July) on NPMs.

Date: 28 June - 01 July
Place: Montevideo, Uruguay

Uruguay ratified the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture on 8 December 2005, and designated the new National Institute of Human Rights (NIHR) as national preventive mechanism. The NIHR is currently being established and the APT will travel to Uruguay from 28 June to 1st July to:

  • Install the debate in Uruguay in relation to national preventive mechanisms (NPMs), to be established in compliance with the requirements of the OPCAT
  • Discuss the establishment of the NPM in the context of the future NIHR and taking into consideration the practice of existing bodies that monitor places of deprivation of liberty
  • Share NPMs ‘ experience from other countries

Co-organising partner: Regional Office for South America of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Hosting: Ministry of Education and Culture of Uruguay

Inter-American Institute for Human Rights (IIHR)

Activities: A two-day seminar on NPMs (30 June-1st July) will gather approximately 60 participants, including representatives from governmental authorities, existing monitoring bodies, parliamentarians, civil society organisations and academics, as well as members of national preventive mechanisms (Costa Rica and Chile) and regional experts (Argentina). The seminar aims at installing the debate in Uruguay in relation to the setting-up of the NPM and will include:
  • Sharing of experience of national monitoring bodies in Uruguay
  • Sharing of experience from other countries in the world in relation to OPCAT implementation
  • Working groups to discuss the functioning of the NPM in the future NIHR
The APT will take the opportunity of its presence in Uruguay to conduct the following activities:
  • Meetings with governmental officials and relevant parliamentarians to promote the establishment of the NPM in Uruguay
  • Bilateral meetings with relevant institutions and experts who conduct visits to places of detention, to explore future ways of collaboration and coordination with the Uruguayan NPM
  • Accompanying a visit to a place a detention, conducted by the Parliamentary Ombudsman for the Penitentiary System
Expected Outcome:
  • Discussions on the advantages and challenges of NHRI being designated as NPM, as well as on holistic perspective of prevention of torture
  • Eventual future members of Uruguay NPM will receive information regarding similar experiences in other countries
  • Increased public awareness of issues associated with deprivation of liberty in Uruguay
  • Exploration of the relation, coordination and cooperation between bodies that monitor places of detention, governmental authorities and the future NPM
  • Establishment of an effective NPM in Uruguay
Unique Aspects: Uruguay is one of the countries that decided to designate a new national human rights institution as NPM (National Human Rights Institute, institution that is not functioning yet). Furthermore, there are several existing bodies that conduct visits to places of detention. Thanks to the discussions in the seminar, national actors and authorities will benefit from the international and regional experiences in relation to NPM functioning. They will be able to determine the most appropriate modalities to set-up the NPM in Uruguay, taking into consideration the existing monitoring bodies. In addition, the seminar responds to the SPT guidelines on on-going development of NPMs, which states that The NPM should be developed by a public, inclusive and transparent process of establishment, including civil society and other actors involved in the prevention of torture; where an existing body is considered for designation as the NPM, the matter should be open for debate, involving civil society.
Next Steps:
  • Follow-up of the process of establishment of the NPM in the NHRI (advice, sharing of information on international and regional experiences etc)
  • Follow-up of the process of coordination, integration and/or coordination between existing monitoring mechanisms and the future NPM
  • Capacities strengthening to the future members of the NPM
Documents:Programa del Seminario
Press:Seminario Internacional sobre los Mecanismos Nacionales de Prevención de la Tortura