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The Optional Protocol to the UN Convention Against Torture$

Rachel Murray, Elina Steinerte, Malcolm Evans, and Antenor Hallo de Wolf

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199602193

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199602193.001.0001

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(p.212) Appendix IV Preliminary Guidelines for the Ongoing Development of National Preventive Mechanisms

(p.212) Appendix IV Preliminary Guidelines for the Ongoing Development of National Preventive Mechanisms

Source:
The Optional Protocol to the UN Convention Against Torture
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

(p.212) Appendix IV

Preliminary Guidelines for the Ongoing Development of National Preventive Mechanisms

As contained in the First Annual Report of the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, CAT/C/40/2, 14 May 2008.

In order to facilitate dialogue with national preventive mechanisms generally, the Subcommittee wishes to indicate some preliminary guidelines concerning the process of establishing those mechanisms, by the development of new or existing bodies, and concerning certain key features of them:

  1. (a) The mandate and powers of the national preventive mechanism should be clearly and specifically established in national legislation as a constitutional or legislative text. The broad definition of places of deprivation of liberty, in accordance with the Optional Protocol, shall be reflected in that text;

  2. (b) The national preventive mechanism should be established by a public, inclusive and transparent process, including civil society and other actors involved in the prevention of torture; where an existing body is considered for designation as the national preventive mechanism, the matter should be open for debate, involving civil society;

  3. (c) The independence of the national preventive mechanism, both actual and perceived, should be fostered by a transparent process of selection and appointment of members who are independent and do not hold a position that could raise questions of conflict of interest;

  4. (d) Selection of members should be based on stated criteria relating to the experience and expertise required to carry out national preventive mechanism work effectively and impartially;

  5. (e) National preventive mechanism membership should be gender‐balanced and have adequate representation of ethnic, minority and indigenous groups;

  6. (f) The State shall take the necessary measures to ensure that the expert members of the national preventive mechanism have the required capabilities and professional knowledge. Training should be provided to national preventive mechanisms;

  7. (g) Adequate resources should be provided for the specific work of national preventive mechanisms, in accordance with article 18, 3 of the Optional Protocol; these should be ring‐fenced, in terms of both budget and human resources;

  8. (h) The work programme of national preventive mechanisms should cover all potential and actual places of deprivation of liberty;

  9. (i) The scheduling of national preventive mechanism visits should ensure effective monitoring of such places with regard to safeguards against ill‐treatment;

  10. (j) Working methods of national preventive mechanisms should be developed and reviewed with a view to effective identification of good practice and gaps in protection;

  11. (p.213) (k) States should encourage national preventive mechanisms to report on visits with feedback on good practice and gaps in protection to the institutions concerned, and address recommendations to the responsible authorities on improvements in practice, policy and law;

  12. (l) National preventive mechanisms and the authorities should establish an ongoing dialogue based on the recommendations for changes arising from the visits and the action taken to respond to such recommendations, in accordance with article 22 of the Optional Protocol;

  13. (m) The annual report of national preventive mechanisms shall be published in accordance with article 23 of the Optional Protocol;

  14. (n) The development of national preventive mechanisms should be considered an ongoing obligation, with reinforcement of formal aspects and working methods refined and improved incrementally.