APT Oral Statement
APT Oral Statement in the Public Meeting on the Working Document of the
Committee Against Torture on Art.14 of the Convention Against Torture, 22
Thank you Chair
The APT has already submitted written comments to the Committee and we would
like to thank both the Chair and the Committee for the opportunity to comment on this
valuable process. The APT welcomes the development of this General Comment,
and through this process would like to encourage the Committee to strengthen the
emphasis on prevention of torture and other ill-treatment throughout the text.
As the Committee notes in the draft General Comment, preventive forms of redress
are critical for victims of torture. Compensation and restitution are often inadequate
remedies for torture victims, due to the nature of the irreparable violations that have
been endured. Victims have often felt compelled to ensure that such abuse is never
repeated. Guarantees of non-repetition are therefore central to the satisfaction of the
victim, and a key part of ensuring effective redress for victims of torture and other ill-
Further, by failing to take effective measures in an attempt to prevent further
violations, the State party itself maintains a system which is contrary to the prohibition
of torture which is, prima facie, a violation of international law.
Consequently, the General Comment should reflect that any award of reparations
should include, where appropriate, first, a demand that the State party take effective
measures to prevent the breach in future, and second, how the specific breach
should be prevented in practice.
Of the measures which may be required to prevent reoccurrence, in addition to those
already listed, APT would ask the Committee to promote the introduction of
safeguards. Examples may include introducing an effective system of records for
places of detention to prevent any detainee being held incommunicado, or by limiting
the period any detainee may be held in solitary confinement according to
In countries which have inspection bodies or the mandate to conduct judicial visits,
the state should undertake to invite such bodies to conduct inspections as soon as
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Additionally, we would like to strongly recommend the Committee to include within its
list of preventive measures (Art.16 of the draft text), that States undertake to
institutionalize a system of proactive visits to all places where persons are deprived
of liberty by independent bodies specifically tasked with preventing acts of torture or
other ill-treatment, through the promotion of institutional reforms in order to ensure
compliance with international standards.
The Committee is already aware that such proactive visits by preventive mechanisms
to places where people are deprived of liberty has a powerful deterrent effect. These
visits also enable experts to examine, at first hand, the conditions of detention and
working practices which led to the violation. The implementation of recommendations
made by NPMs or other independent visiting mechanisms is an effective way to
prevent reoccurrence and guarantee non-repetition.
In summary, we recommend the Committee include the requirement to monitor
places where persons are detained within those listed in draft para.16.
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