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Effective OPCAT Implementation in Paraguay


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

From 09 - 12 December the APT, together with the Center for Justice and International Law and national partners, organized a series of OPCAT promotion activities in Paraguay with the participation of two members of the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT). The purpose of these events was to assist in preparations for the visit by the SPT to Paraguay in 2009 and to promote the approval of the draft National Preventive Mechanism Law currently pending before the Paraguayan Congress.

 

Date:
09 - 12 December 2008
Place:
Asunción, Paraguay
Partners:
Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL)
Fundación Celestina Pérez de Almada
Amnistía Internacional Paraguay
Fundación Mesa Memoria Histórica
Coordinadora de Derechos Humanos del Paraguay (CODEHUPY)
National Human Rights Commission of Paraguay
Human Rights Institute of the National University of Asunción
Purpose:
  • To assist in preparations for the SPT Visit to Paraguay planned for the first semester of 2009.
  • To promote the approval of the draft NPM Law currently pending before the Paraguayan Congress.
Activities:

The APT, together with the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) and national partners, organized a series of OPCAT promotion activities with the participation of two members of the SPT (Wilder Tayler and Mario Coriolano):

Public Conference: 9 December, 19:30 at the Museo de la Memoria - Programme

The conference began with an overview of the situation of torture in Paraguay, both past (report of the Truth and Justice Commission) and present (report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture), leading to the need for effective OPCAT implementation, including the future visit of the SPT and the approval of the NPM. The event took place in a former police detention facility, today turned into a Museum of Memory to commemorate victims of the Stroessner repression.  

Public Conference: 11 December, 18:30 at the Universidad Nacional de Asunción - Programme

This conference focused on various norms and mechanisms to combat the practice of torture, including those of the United Nations, the Inter-American Human Rights System and the National Preventive Mechanisms (NPMs) under the OPCAT.     

Meeting with the Working Group on NPM
The thirteen people, from the state and civil society, who drafted the MNP draft law which was presented to Congress in June 2007, met to share their exemplary process and draft law with SPT members, jointly discuss their strategy and how the SPT could lend support to ensure final approval of the law and the effective designation of the NPM. 

Meeting with NGOs
Over twenty NGOs and civil society organizations came together to learn more about what constitutes an official visit by the SPT and to give SPT members information about the situation of torture and ill-treatment in the country, which will serve to ensure a more effective visit by the SPT in 2009.

Meeting with the three Inter-institutional Commissions to Places of Detention
The members of these Commissions, comprised of representatives of the state and civil society which jointly monitor detention facilities, helped provide information to the SPT about the situation in adult prisons, detention centers for juveniles and military barracks.

Outcome:
  • Paraguayan stakeholders became more aware of the visit of the SPT to Paraguay in 2009.
  • The SPT has better information about the situation in Paraguay and made preliminary contact with stakeholders for a more informed visit in 2009.
  • The NPM law was approved with some minor changes by the Human Rights Commission of the Senate and it is expected to be soon approved by the various committees in the Senate before the SPT visit in 2009.
Unique Aspects:
  • The NPM process in Paraguay has been recognized as exemplary, but the approval of the law had been stalled for over one year in Congress. Shortly after the visit, the Working Group which drafted the law met to define future strategies for the prompt NPM approval and establishment.
  • This was the first time that the SPT members particpiated in OPCAT promotion activities organized by NGOs in a country prior to their visit.
Documents:

A special paper on the OPCAT in Paraguay (including the NPM process and law, as well as the SPT visit) was prepared for circulation and has been translated to Guarani.

Programme 09 December

Programme 11 December

Contact Persons:

Claudia Gerez, APT Americas Programme Officer

Audrey Olivier, APT OPCAT Coordinator

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