Prevention of Torture: the APT Opens a Regional Office in Latin America

Monday, March 22, 2010

Geneva, 17 March 2010 - The Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) is opening a Regional Office for Latin America, based in Panama. The APT wants to strengthen its action regarding prevention in the region and contribute to the establishment of effective national preventive mechanisms in charge of visiting places of deprivation of liberty.

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Hugo Lorenzo, Director of the APT Office for Latin America


The APT has played a pivotal role in convincing a majority of Latin American states to ratify the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture (OPCAT). The region now stands at a crossroads to effectively implement the treaty, by instituting independent national experts’ bodies to monitor all places of detention.  Such a system of promoting transparency of detention places has proven to be one of the most effective means to prevent torture and ill-treatment.

The APT Office for Latin America is scheduled to open in April in “Ciudad del Saber”, Panama. It will contribute to the process of OPCAT implementation in the region by promoting broad national consultations amongst potential stakeholders, providing advice on the Protocol and the establishment of National Preventive Mechanisms and their functioning, as well as training on preventive monitoring. A regional colloquium on torture prevention will be held in Panama City in June, which will accompany the official inauguration of the Office.   

An opportunity now exists for the States of the region to put an end to a practice of torture and inhuman detention conditions that is still persistent in Latin-America. The APT is confident that the Regional Office can make a real contribution to their efforts to let in the light to places of detention, with a view to ensuring respect for the dignity of all persons deprived of their liberty.

APT Office for Latin America staff:

Director: Hugo Lorenzo (Uruguay), jurist, former judge and former member of the UN Committee against Torture
Deputy Director: Claudia Cesaroni (Argentina) lawyer with over 20 years of experience promoting the rights of persons deprived of liberty
Administrator: Elena Villalba

Financial supporters of the Office:

Liechtenstein (principal donor), Denmark, European Commission, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom.

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Claudia Cesaroni, Deputy Director of the APT Office for Latin America