Preventing Torture: New Tools for NHRIs

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The OHCHR, the Asia Pacific Forum and the Association for the Prevention of Torture have published a new practical guide and interactive CD Rom, entitled 'Preventing Torture: An Operational Guide for National Human Rights Institutions'.

The Operational Guide

The Guide is a practical tool designed to strengthen the capacity of NHRIs to engage in torture prevention in their countries. The first part provides the legal context for torture prevention. The second part outlines the practical steps that NHRIs can undertake to prevent torture, illustrated with examples of good practices. Possible actions include, for example:

  • promoting legal and procedural safeguards
  • training public officials,
  • monitoring places of detention
  • cooperating with international mechanisms
  • NHRIs and the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture (OPCAT)


The CD Rom

The Guide is complemented by a CD Rom that contains an electronic version of the guide, as well as relevant documents and further readings. It also features audio-visual support in the form of a documentary featuring interviews with leading international experts, as well as interviews with representatives of NHRIs in Asia-Pacific describing their work on different aspects of torture prevention.


Torture Prevention and the role of NHRIs

Art. 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides that: “No one shall be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”. This absolute prohibition is complemented by a duty for States to take positive measures (legislative, administrative, judicial and others) to prevent the occurrence of torture and ill-treatment.

National Human Rights Institutions are a vital part of strong national human rights protection systems and have a key role to play in torture prevention.

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The guide will also be available for download at the Asia Pacific Forum website, and the OHCHR (OHCHR website and NHRI website)

Hard copies or CD Rom can be ordered from the APT and the Asia Pacific Forum.