UN anti-torture body to visit PH

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The United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) will visit the Philippines for the first time from 25 May to 3 June 2015 to assess the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty, as well as the safeguards for their protection against torture and ill-treatment.

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The SPT delegation will visit prisons, police stations, military detention facilities, correctional rehabilitation facilities for women and juveniles and psychiatric hospitals.

The experts will meet government officials, the Commission on the Human Rights and representatives of civil society to seek ways of strengthening efforts to prevent and eliminate torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees.

“During the visit we will be exploring the steps the Philippines needs to take to effectively prevent torture and ill-treatment of people deprived of their liberty,” Suzanne Jabbour, who will head the SPT delegation, said. “We will also assist the authorities in the full implementation of their treaty obligations, including the establishment of a national independent body to monitor places of detention.”

The SPT has a mandate to visit all parties to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT). States parties are obliged to set up a monitoring body, known as a National Preventive Mechanism, within a year of ratifying OPCAT. Although the Philippines ratified OPCAT in April 2012, an NPM is yet to be established.

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