Civil society organisations are vital to the prevention of torture. In many countries, civil society organisations carry out visits to places of detention, either to provide services (religious, health, legal, etc.) or to assess conditions of detention and the treatment of detainees.
Their expertise is important as they often have particularly valuable insights to offer in for example processes to designate National Preventive Mechanisms under OPCAT.
Important civil society actors include leading human rights NGOs but also rehabilitation centres for torture survivors and associations for detainees and/or their relatives. Their involvement in torture prevention strategies and actions can provide a voice for individuals who have been detained and/or subjected to torture. These organisations are able to offer unique, first-hand observations about the situation for people deprived of their liberty.
Other relevant organisations may include committees of detainees, professional groups such as bar and medical associations, faith-based groups, academic institutions, as well as groups representing refugees, asylum-seekers, migrants, women, children, LGBT persons, people living with disabilities, and ethnic or cultural minorities.