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UN torture prevention body to visit Philippines

GENEVA (30 November 2023) – The UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) will make its second visit to the Philippines from 3 to 14 December to advise and assist the State party in fulfilling its international commitments to prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

“Our main objective is to assess how the authorities have implemented the recommendations of our previous visit in 2015,” said Victor Zaharia, Head of the Delegation. The Philippines ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture in 2012.

“We will also assess the treatment of people deprived of their liberty, including detainees in prisons, police stations and other detention facilities, as well as patients in psychiatric hospitals, and examine the existing protection measures against torture and ill-treatment,” he added.

“The Philippines is one of the States parties who are significantly overdue in establishing a national mechanism for torture prevention under the Optional Protocol, and we consider our visit as an opportunity to help the authorities set up the country’s independent monitory body,” Zaharia said.

Under its mandate, the SPT visits States parties, carries out unannounced visits to all detention facilities and conducts confidential interviews with people deprived of their liberty. During each visit, the SPT delegation meets with government officials, the local monitoring body officially known as the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM), civil society representatives and UN agencies.

At the end of the visit, the SPT will present its confidential preliminary observations to the Government of the Philippines.

The SPT delegation will comprise Victor ZAHARIA (Moldova), Head of Delegation, Satyabhooshun Gupt DOMAH (Mauritius), Aisha Shujune MUHAMMAD (Maldives), Martin ZINKLER (Germany) and will be accompanied by two Human Rights Officers from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

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