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A New National Preventive Mechanism for Germany


Tuesday, February 12, 2008
On 15 February the German Institute for Human Rights hosted an experts' discussion in Berlin titled 'The New National Preventive Mechanisms for the Prevention of Torture and Ill-treatment in Germany'. The event highlighted and discussed existing gaps and problems concerning the prevention of torture and other forms of ill-treatment in Germany and the role in this regard of the soon to be established NPM.

 

Date: 15 February 2008
Place:
Berlin, Germany
Partners:
German Institute for Human Rights (Deutsches Institut für Menschenrechte)
Purpose: To examine the implementation of the OPCAT in Germany
Activities:
On 15 February 2008 the German Institute for Human Rights hosted an experts' discussion in Berlin titled 'The New National Preventive Mechanisms for the Prevention of Torture and Ill-treatment in Germany'. The event highlighted and discussed existing gaps and problems concerning the prevention of torture and other forms of ill-treatment in Germany and the role in this regard of the soon to be established NPM.

On a positive note, it is envisaged that the German parliament will approve draft legislation which will bring into effect the OPCAT in the first half of 2008 and that Germany will formally ratify the instrument in Autumn the same year. On a negative note, however, significant concerns continue to exist about Germany's proposed NPM, most of which relate to the paucity of resources being invested in the said mechanism. APT attended the meeting to convey the organization's misgivings about the proposed mechanism, although its appears that little will be done to address such concerns.
Outcome: As a result of the meeting the widely-held concerns about the proposed NPM were publicly expressed to the German authorities. Two bodies have been proposed to act as the overall NPM, including a so-called Joint Commission of the Regions with responsibility for detention facilities under the jurisdiction of Germany's 16 regions or Länder, while a second body, a so-called Federal Commissioner will be established with responsibility for all federal detention facilities. Unfortunately, both structures will comprise just five persons working on a part-time basis, who will be aided by a small secretariat located at the Centre for Criminology in Wiesbaden. An annual budget of just 300,000 EURO will be allocated for the NPM. The exchange in Berlin grappled with the serious issue of financing as well as other matters relating to the future functioning of the NPM. 
Documents: 

Agenda

The German Institute for Human Rights has also published a comprehensive report (German) highlighting its concerns about the proposed German NPM. 

Contact Person: Matthew Pringle, APT Europe & Central Asia Programme Officer

 

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