Revised EU Guidelines on torture: weak on prevention

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The APT welcomes the recent revision of the EU guidelines to combat torture, which were first adopted in 2001 to provide guidance for EU external action to prohibit and prevent torture. However, the APT regrets that this revised EU foreign policy instrument fails to reflect major developments and opportunities in the prevention of torture.

Over the past decade, the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture (OPCAT) has been adopted and entered into force (63 States parties worldwide today).

"This has radically transformed the way in which States are addressing the prevention and prohibition of torture" said Mark Thomson, Secretary General of the APT.

"Implementation of OPCAT has opened up not only cooperation between international experts, National Preventive Mechanisms (NPMs) and States parties, but it also led to legislative changes and reforms on detention practices", he added.   

Unfortunately, the revised EU Guidelines do not adequately reflect this important evolution.

The APT made written submissions to the last two revision processes (2007 and 2011, see below), however, implementation of OPCAT, in particular NPMs, are not suitably addressed by the revised guidelines.

In order to effectively tackle torture prevention, EU Delegations will require further guidance and advice on OPCAT implementation.


APT 2011 recommendations on the revision of the EU Guidelines on torture

APT 2007 recommendations on the revision of the EU Guidelines on torture