Ombudsperson’s Office designated as Peruvian NPM

Friday, January 8, 2016

In December 2015, the Peruvian Congress enacted Law N°30394, designating the Ombudsperson’s Office (Defensoría del Pueblo) as National Preventive Mechanism. This designation is a major step in the implementation of Peru’s obligations under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT), ratified by Peru in 2007. Additional measures are, however, required, to ensure that the mechanism has the necessary resources to conduct effective monitoring of detention.

Under the new law – which broadens the powers of the Ombudsperson’s Office - the mechanism has the mandate to conduct unannounced visits to places of deprivation of liberty in Peru to examine the treatment of persons deprived of liberty and make recommendations to relevant authorities, based on the findings of such visits. The authorities have an obligation, under the OPCAT, to grant the institution with unrestricted access to all facilities where a person can be deprived of his/her liberty and allow for interviews in private with detainees.

The new law, however, does not foresee any additional resources, as required by the OPCAT, for the Ombudsperson’s Office to fulfil its NPM mandate. The APT therefore calls on the Peruvian authorities to now take the necessary steps to ensure that the NPM be granted adequate human, financial and material resources to fulfil its OPCAT mandate effectively.