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Cambodia: UN torture prevention group makes follow-up visit

GENEVA (9 December 2013) – A delegation from the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) is in Cambodia from 9 to 13 December to assess whether the situation of prisoners has improved since the SPT’s last visit in 2009 when they issued recommendations for action.

The delegation is meeting government officials and non-governmental organisations, as well as making unannounced visits to places of detention.

At the end of the visit, the SPT members will present their confidential preliminary observations to the Cambodian authorities.

The SPT’s role is to prevent and eliminate torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment of detainees. It has a mandate to visit all States that are parties to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) and to make recommendations to the authorities to provide for effective safeguards against torture and ill-treatment of persons deprived of their liberty.

For the SPT, the key to preventing torture and ill-treatment lies in building constructive relations with the State concerned, and its guiding principles are cooperation and confidentiality.

A State party must create a National Preventive Mechanism (NPM), a body to monitor places of detention by organising regular visits, a year after ratifying the Optional Protocol.

During this visit, the SPT delegation will hold talks with the Cambodian inter-ministerial body that is in charge of monitoring until a NPM is established in conformity with the Optional Protocol.

The following SPT Members are participating in the follow-up visit: Chairperson Malcolm Evans, Lowell Patria Goddard, June Lopez and Milos Jankovic.

ENDS

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