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Chile: The designation of a National Preventive Mechanism


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Chile ratified the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture on 12 December 2008, thus acquiring the international obligation to designate its National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) by January 2010. The APT visited Chile from 4 to 7 August to take part in a national seminar covering general aspects of the OPCAT, the requirements of the NPM and the specific implications of the international treaty for Chile.

 

Date: 4 - 7 August 2009
Place: Santiago de Chile, Chile
Purpose: Chile ratified the OPCAT on 12 December 2008, thus acquiring the international obligation to designate its NPM by January 2010. In May 2009, Chile was considered by both the UN Committee against Torture (CAT) and the Universal Periodic Review of the Human Rights Council.  Recommendations of both procedures included adequate implementation of the OPCAT. The Delegation of Chile to Geneva in May 2009 therefore requested the support of the APT in promoting a national debate about possible NPM options for the country. One option favored by the government is to include the NPM in the future National Human Rights Institution, which is currently under consideration by the Parliament. 

General purpose:
  • Promote the effective implementation of the OPCAT in Chile.
Specific objectives:
  • Facilitate a dialogue amongst relevant national actors with respect to the implications of the OPCAT implementation for Chile;
  • Promote the designation of an effective NPM in Chile;
  • Provide relevant substantive input, including on the concept of torture prevention and comparative NPM options.
Chile is perhaps the only country in Latin America with no independent monitoring system of places of detention, making OPCAT implementation all the more pressing. The country is still within the one year period stipulated by OPCAT for designating its NPM.
Partners: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Justice
CODEPU
Amnesty International Chile
Activities:

A one day national seminar took place on 7 August in Santiago de Chile. The seminar was co-organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice and the APT, under the auspices of the University of Chile and the University Diego Portales. Approximately 100 representatives of the government, parliament, the judiciary and civil society participated in the seminar. The three panels covered general aspects of the OPCAT, the requirements of the NPM and the specific implications of the international treaty for Chile. Respected international jurists, Marco Mona (former President of the APT) and Wilder Tayler (member of the UN Subcommittee on Torture) participated in the discussions.

Prior to the seminar, the invited international experts joined APT representatives in meetings with key national authorities, legislators and civil society representatives to promote the designation of the NPM, particularly in light of the consideration by Congress of the draft bill to create a National Human Rights Institution, which may be appointed as NPM.

Outcome:
  • Greater awareness of the OPCAT among relevant actors in Chile;
  • Increased clarity of the different options of NPM in the national context;
  • Steps forward in the designation of the NPM.
   
  This initiative is funded by Liechtenstein
  {gallery}chile09{/gallery}

 

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