The Subcommittee on Prevention on Torture moves towards more transparency

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The APT welcomes the recent developments within the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT), the leading UN body working on torture prevention.

The SPT meets three times per year in Geneva for one week session. The first meeting of the year took place in February 2012 but its agenda of work remains usually unknown as they are meeting in camera (Article 10(2)(c) OPCAT). For the first time since its establishment, the SPT provided a brief overview of what was discussed, namely: preparation of field visits, National Preventive Mechanism-related work and cooperation with torture prevention entities. The SPT also adopted its fifth annual report which will be presented to the Committee against Torture on 8 May 2012 in Geneva (the report is not available yet). The SPT also held a closed thematic discussion on mental health in places of deprivation of liberty. The SPT met with the International Organization La Francophonie, the Spanish NPM and NGOs involved in torture prevention. Finally Human Rights Treaty Division representatives briefed the SPT on the OPCAT Special Fund and the treaty body strengthening process.

The APT welcomes another positive development in SPT’s working methods: the SPT published the dates of its visits to Argentina and Honduras, taking place at the end of April – early May 2012 (see below for any further details). The APT encourages relevant institutions and organisations to contact the SPT’s Secretariat to provide them with relevant information to assist them in the preparation of their visits.

Key dates for the Subcommittee on Prevention:

  • Tuesday 8 May 2012 at 15.00 (public meeting in Geneva): Meeting between the SPT Chairperson and the Committee against Torture to present the SPT’s fifth annual report (public meeting in Geneva)
  • 18-27 April 2012: Full in-country mission to Argentina
  • 30 April – 4 May 2012: Short in-country mission to Honduras (NPM advisory visit)

Additional information:

  • Analysis of Article 10 of the OPCAT: APT/IIHR OPCAT Implementation Manual, Chapter II
  • Practical analysis and overview of the mandate of the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture: APT/IIHR OPCAT Implementation Manual, Chapter III
  • UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture, Rules of Procedure, UN Doc CAT/OP/12/3 (January 2011) English, French, Spanish
  • UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture, Guidelines of the SPT in relation to visit to States Parties, UN. Doc CAT/OP/12/4 (18 January 2011) English, French, Spanish
  • APT, Role of national civil society in preparation of SPT visits: APT Briefing 2: English, French, Spanish
  • UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture’s website: