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The project

America

Today, 14 Latin-American countries have ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT). Ratification involves the creation of institutions with the power to carry out regular and unannounced visits to all places of detention and make relevant recommendations

To do this work, these bodies need financial and human resources, a good legal basis and a strong methodology. The APT’s experience means it can provide advice and support on all these issues. The APT’s role and importance was recognised during the first Regional Forum for Latin American countries on torture prevention, where states reiterated the need for APT involvement in the following areas:

-support legislative reforms on the prevention of torture in countries like Panama and Honduras

-support the designation of national mechanisms in Peru and Panama, which are alone among the 14 state parties to not have a national mechanism

-support the effective and independent functioning of national and local mechanisms in big federal countries like Brazil and Argentina

-facilitate the creation of a network of national and local mechanisms to exchange good practices (in-countries visits, online platform)

Preventing torture - From an idea to a global reality

35 years ago Mr Gautier founded the APT to promote an international convention that would create a universal system of visits to places of detention

Teams

Sylvia Dias, Director, Regional Office for Latin America

Sylvia Dias is a lawyer with a Masters Degree in International Law. Before the APT, Sylvia worked for NGOs providing legal assistance for women and children victims of domestic violence and promoting public awareness campaigns on gender equality and violence against women

María-José Urgel, Deputy Director, Regional Office for Latin America

María-José Urgel has a Masters degree in Human Rights and Social Change and holds a Degree in Law. She started at Amnesty International with the Central American Team and then moved to Guatemala to work for International Peace Brigades, and to Honduras to work at the Centre for Prevention, Treatment

Partners

The APT’s mission is to enable national actors worldwide to prevent torture. The APT works with national bodies to strengthen their role; with authorities to encourage legislative reform, ensure financial/human independence and train staff; and with civil society on the rights of people in detention

Updates

Peru: the APT calls on prompt entry into force of the NPM law

On 11 December 2014, the Peruvian Congress approved the law to designate the Ombudsperson's office (Defensoría del Pueblo) as the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM). To enter into force, the law now needs to be signed by the President of the Republic.

The Peruvian State would then fulfil its obligation under the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture (OPCAT) to establish an NPM within one year of ratification.

For many years, the APT has been advocating for the designation of the Peruvian NPM, through letters and several bilateral meetings with the authorities, in close coordination with the national NGO Comisión de Derechos Humanos. National civil society organisations have repeatedly drawn attention to the need for an NPM in the country, including through a recent video by the NGO coalition Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos.

The APT values the important step taken with the adoption of this legislation and calls on the President of the Republic to urgently sign it, in order to increase human rights protection in places where persons are deprived of their liberty.

Contributors

All donations for this project are private for the moment.