Convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment orpunishment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40740.(a) Optional Protocol to the Convention against torture and othercruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. . . . . . . . . . . . .


The Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) is a supplementary treaty to the Convention against Torture. It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2002 and entered into force in 2006.

The OPCAT aims to prevent torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment by establishing a system of regular visits to places of detention. These visits are conducted by independent national and international bodies, known as National Preventive Mechanisms (NPMs) and the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT), respectively.

The OPCAT requires states parties to establish or designate one or several independent NPMs to regularly visit places of detention within their jurisdiction, such as prisons, police stations, immigration detention centers, and psychiatric hospitals. These visits aim to assess the conditions of detention, treatment of detainees, and the overall compliance with the Convention against Torture.

The SPT, composed of independent experts, has a mandate to visit places of detention in states parties to the OPCAT. It provides guidance and support to NPMs and assists states in implementing measures to prevent torture and ill-treatment.

By ratifying the OPCAT, states commit to establishing effective mechanisms to prevent torture and improve the treatment of individuals deprived of their liberty. They also agree to cooperate with NPMs and the SPT by granting them access to places of detention, facilitating their work, and considering their recommendations.

The OPCAT reinforces the global effort to combat torture and ill-treatment and provides a framework for increased transparency, accountability, and protection of detainees’ human rights.

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