USA: International Conference on the Prevention of Torture

Friday, February 20, 2009

USA: International Conference on the Prevention of TortureThe APT was in Washington on 23 and 24 February to co-organize two events to further the prevention of torture and promote the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture by the United States. With the American University Washington College of Law, APT jointly convened the 'International Conference on the Prevention of Torture and Other Ill-treatment' which brought together a renowned group of international experts, including policymakers, lawyers, civil servants, NGOs and scholars.

The second event, a National Roundtable held jointly with Just Detention International, brought together leading US NGOs to mobilize and strategize on an OPCAT ratification campaign in the USA.

 

Date:
23 - 24 February 2009
Place:
Washington, USA
Purpose:
  • International Conference: to bring together leading experts and practitioners in order to analyze and propose key measures to prevent torture and other ill-treatment.
  • National Roundtable: to bring together leading US NGOs to mobilize and strategize on an OPCAT ratification campaign in the USA.
Partners:

American University Washington College of Law

Just Detention International

Activities:
International Conference

The APT and the Washington College of Law of American University jointly convened a full-day international conference in Washington DC on 23 February (see programme below). The 'International Conference on the Prevention of Torture and Other Ill-treatment' brought together a renowned group of international experts, including policymakers, lawyers, civil servants, NGOs and scholars, to analyze and propose key measures to prevent torture and other ill-treatment, including: laws that criminalize torture; judicial procedures to thwart impunity; interrogation practices; and opening up places of detention to external monitors.

Renowned authorities participating included WCL Dean Claudio Grossman, who also serves as Chair of the United Nations Committee against Torture, Manfred Nowak, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, as well as members of the United Nations Committee against Torture, representatives from the Inter-American human rights system, and leading scholars and organizations such as the ACLU Human Rights Program, Amnesty International, APT, the Center for Justice and International Law, Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, and the National Institute for Military Justice.


Roundtable Discussion

The APT and Just Detention International co-organized, on 24 February 2009, a roundtable discussion about the OPCAT and its relevance in the United States (see programme below). The meeting brought together leading US NGOs working on detention issues domestically to look into some of the following issues: How OPCAT relates to other USA laws, such as the Prison Rape Elimination Act; experiences with OPCAT ratification in other countries; overview of existing oversight mechanisms in the USA and the viability of OPCAT in the USA.
Outcome:
  • The proceedings of the International Conference will be published in the Human Rights Brief, a publication of the Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law of American University (see below).
  • It is hoped that a coalition of US NGOs will be formed to promote OPCAT ratification in the country.
Documents:

International Conference Programme

Roundtable Discussion Programme

Conference Proceedings, Human Rights Brief July 2009

Contact Persons:

Marina Narvaez, APT UN & Legal Programme Officer

Claudia Gerez, APT Americas Programme Officer

USA: International Conference on the Prevention of Torture