Implementing the OPCAT in the United Kingdom

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Date: 26 and 29 June 2007

Place: Belfast and London

Partners: Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission Ministry of Justice  

Purpose: To examine the implementation of the OPCAT in the United Kingdom Activities: In the week beginning 25 June 2007 the APT participated in two events held to discuss the implementation of the OPCAT in the United Kingdom. On 26 June the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission hosted a round-table discussion on this issue in Belfast, which was attended by a range of actors, including Anne Owers, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons in England and Wales. The APT also delivered a presentation at the exchange.

Later during the week, on 29 June, the Ministry of Justice hosted a meeting in London of the approximately 30 visiting bodies which have been designated as the UK national preventive mechanism. Among other things, the meeting discussed practical arrangements for the establishment of the mechanism, particularly the task of coordinating the activities of its 30 constituent parts.

Outcome: The event in Belfast raised awareness about the OPCAT as a torture prevention instrument in Northern Ireland. Surprise was also expressed during the meeting that the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission had not been designated as part of the UK national preventive mechanism.   

The London exchange focused on the practical arrangement for the nationwide implementation of the OPCAT. It became apparent from the exchange that further steps have to be taken to address a number of matters, including that of national coordination of the overall mechanism.

Contact Person: Matthew Pringle, Europe & Central Asia Programme Officer