Torture prevention training modules for prison guards in Timor-Leste – another milestone in the country’s roadmap towards a torture-free society

Friday, March 11, 2022

Joint-press release Launch of Torture Prevention Modules for Prison Guards in Timor Leste / 10 March 2022

In 2019, the Association for Prevention of Torture (APT), the Provedor for Human Rights and Justice (PDHJ) and the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen collaboration for the prevention of torture and ill-treatment in Timor Leste.

Over the last three years, the tripartite partnership has been deepened through a series of collaborative and concrete efforts. These include enhancing the capacities of prison guards; making information on torture prevention efforts by the government and the international community accessible to everyone; and ensuring a participatory process to develop a national torture prevention roadmap for Timor-Leste.  

Today, we are proud to launch the Torture Prevention Modules for Prison Guards in Timor-Leste. The modules were developed over two years, drawing on close consultation with PDHJ and MOJ teams, as well as expertise and insights shared by prison guards from three of Timor-Leste’s main prison centers.

The modules are practical, easy-to-follow and engaging, while providing substantive knowledge on key torture prevention topics relevant to Timor-Leste. Each chapter in the modules addresses an issue through the story of a prison officer and their daily roles and responsibilities, including implementing laws and regulations that prohibit torture and ill-treatment; building a safe and responsive prison; protecting prisoners in situations of vulnerabilities from risks of torture and ill-treatment; and working with different national stakeholders to prevent torture.

The PDHJ and MOJ will pilot the modules with trainers and targeted prison wardens and then work to ensure that all prison guards and staff in Timor Leste can receive training on torture prevention. The APT will continue to offer technical and moral support to the PDHJ and MOJ and develop tools to accompany the training. This includes translating relevant educational materials in Tetum and creating a public information dashboard that provides access to national and international documents and materials related to torture prevention in Timor-Leste.

These concerted efforts of  the APT, PDHJ and MOJ are directed towards ending all forms of risky practices leading to torture and ill-treatment in prisons and other places of detention across the country. These initiatives would not be possible without the unswerving commitment shown by prison staff and guards to care for and protect prisoners, especially those in situations of vulnerabilities. We hope these training modules will support and enhance the skills, capacity and motivation of prison staff and guards to play a pivotal role in preventing torture.

The APT, PDHJ and MOJ would like to thank everyone who contributed to the development of the modules. We are also grateful for the trust and support of the Swiss Embassy in Jakarta. We look forward to implementing the training modules for prison guards in Timor Leste.