The prevention of torture and ill-treatment in Europe

Prevention of torture


A European Committee (CPT)


Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights provides that "no one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."

This article inspired the 1987 drafting of the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The Convention gave birth to a non-judicial preventive machinery to protect detainees, based on a system of visits by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT).

The CPT has developed detailed standards setting out the criteria whereby the treatment of detainees and prison conditions can be regarded as consistent with human dignity.

The CPT, composed of experts drawn from a variety of professional backgrounds, is the only institution world-wide which can at any time inspect any place of detention located in one of the member states of the Council of Europe.

CPT urges states to monitor treatment of persons deprived of liberty

In its annual report, published on 6 November 2012, the Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) urges all Council of Europe member states to ratify a UN treaty and establish independent national bodies to monitor the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty.

The Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT), which entered into force in 2006, establishes an independent UN monitoring body and obliges States Parties to create independent national monitoring structures to combat torture and other forms of ill-treatment, by means of regular visits to places of deprivation of liberty. So far, 31 Council of Europe member states have ratified this protocol and 26 of them have set up or designated the so-called “national preventive mechanisms” (NPMs).

“Monitoring mechanisms at national level can intervene frequently and rapidly, and so are able to make an enormous contribution to the prevention of ill-treatment. That is why it is essential that independent structures of this kind are set up without delay in all countries. They will also be a valuable source of information for the CPT and can bolster the monitoring work the Committee is doing, in particular by following up the implementation of its recommendations”, said Lətif Hüseynov, CPT president. (more...)

Azerbaijani law professor to lead European anti-torture watchdog

The Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) has elected in March 2011 Latif Hüseynov from Azerbaijan as its new President. Mr Hüseynov is Professor of Public International Law at Baku State University.

Vladimir Ortakov from “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” has been elected as the CPT's 1st Vice-President. He is a Psychiatric Consultant at the Clinical Hospital Sistina, Skopje. Haritini Dipla, from Greece and Professor of International Law at the University of Athens, has been re-elected as the CPT's 2nd Vice-President. (more...)

Did you know ...

... that the CPT celebrated 20 years of combating torture in Europe in 2009?

Video

To mark Human Rights Day on December 10 the Council of Europe has produced a TV spot highlighting the work of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT). The spot includes some images provided by Amnesty International.