Torture prevention in focus in Rio de Janeiro

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

From 22 to 24 of May the APT was in Rio de Janeiro together with the local Preventive Mechanism of Torture in order to discuss several aspects of their work. This workshop took place a few months after the first visit of the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) to Brazil from 19 to 30 September 2011, where it visited various places of detention in the State of Rio de Janeiro.

The Preventive Mechanism of the State of Rio de Janeiro was established in August 2011 and is the first local preventive mechanism in the country: as such it is the focus of much attention nation-wide. It is comprised of 6 members, selected through an open and inclusive process. Although they are facing challenges in fully implementing their mandate (such as a lack of logistical resources), they are already monitoring places of detention in the State of Rio. Their first annual report will be released soon.

During three days of intense exchanges with the APT team, issues such as the methodology of preventive visits, internal organization, dealing with individual complaints and communication and outreach strategy were debated at length.

Prior to the workshop, the APT's director of  office for Latin America was in Brasilia to attend a public hearing at the Federal Senate in order to inquire about the federal law on creating a national mechanism that will head the work of all local preventive mechanisms. As a result of such public debate, the participants urged the Federal Government to publish the report produced by the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture after its visit to the country; and called upon the National Congress to approve the Bill of Law 2442/2011 amending its text  to guarantee the autonomy and independence of the Brazilian NPM. The participants also encouraged state authorities to create mechanisms at local level to prevent torture in accordance with the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture assigning the necessary infrastructure and financial resources to carry out its mandate.

This workshop fits within APT's priorities and engagement with newly established NPMs. Workshops are based on APT's extensive practical experience on detention monitoring and strategic coaching with NPMs and are based on dialogue and exchange of experience. The APT has been conducting similar workshops with NPMs in the Americas, as well as in other regions of the world.

For further information on OPCAT implementation in Brazil, see the APT OPCAT Database.