Rio de Janeiro: Monitoring Methodology
From 08 - 11 August the APT held the 'International Workshop on Monitoring Places of Deprivation of Liberty' in partnership with the Secretariat of Social Welfare and Human Rights of the State of Rio de Janeiro and with the Public Defender's office of the State of Rio de Janeiro. The workshop addressed members of two recently established bodies to prevent and combat torture in the State (see law 5.778), the State Mechanism and State Committee to Prevent and Combat Torture, and aimed at training on a holistic approach of preventive monitoring through the application of a systematic methodology of visits to centres of deprivation of liberty.
The workshop brought together about 20 participants, members of the State Mechanism (MEPCT / RJ) and the State Committee to Prevent and Combat Torture (CEPCT / RJ), and members of Human Rights Councils, the Secretariat of Social Welfare and Human Rights of the State of Rio de Janeiro and local nongovernmental organizations. During the four days, the participants discussed in depth the preventive monitoring methodology compiled in the APT manual 'Monitoring places of detention: A Practical Guide': the systemic approach of preventive monitoring through a systematic methodology applied in all stages of a visit to a place of detention (preparing and conducting a monitoring visit, and preparing reports and recommendations), and relevant international standards, in particular the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture. In addition, it was offered a forum for reflection on the major challenges that MEPCT / RJ will face in its installation and institutionalization in the state and how to develop a more effective coordination between the MEPCT and CEPCT.
As part of the workshop, three centres of detention in the state were visited: Ary Franco Prison, Henrique Roxo Psychiatric Hospital and Padre Severino Institute (for minors).
The State Mechanism to Prevent and Combat Torture of the State of Rio de Janeiro is the first body of such a nature to be created in Brazil. It has a mandate to carry out periodic visits to all places of detention in the State in accordance with the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention Against Torture, ratified by Brazil in January 2007. Among its functions are: to conduct regular and periodic visits to people deprived of their liberty, whatever the form or ground of detention; request to the competent authority the establishment of criminal and administrative proceedings, whenever they find evidence of torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment; make general and preventive recommendations to public or private authorities, in order to effectively guarantee the rights of persons deprived of liberty.
The six members of the MEPCT / RJ were chosen through a public selection process, led by the State Committee to Prevent and Combat Torture. In order to confirm their appointment, they went through a public hearing before the plenary of the State Legislative Assembly. Its composition follows the multidisciplinary nature required by the state law.
Sylvia Dias, Director, Office for Latin America
Isabelle Heyer, Americas Programme Officer