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The Prevention of Torture in Practice: Seminar on the implementation in Brazil of the OPCAT


Thursday, February 15, 2007

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This seminar, held from 23-25 April in Brazil, had the objectives of disseminating knowledge among relevant national actors about the OPCAT, particularly its provisions regarding the national preventive mechanisms (NPMs) and the bringing together of such actors to advance the process of establishing the Brazilian NPM.

Date: 23-25 April 2007
Place: Brasilia, Brazil
Partners: Special Secretariat for Human Rights of the Republic of Brazil and the Academy of the Federal Prosecutor’s Office
Purpose: The seminar had a dual purpose. The first objective was to disseminate knowledge among relevant national actors – from civil society and public institutions – about the OPCAT, particularly its provisions regarding the national preventive mechanisms (NPMs). The second objective was to bring together such actors, which included members of the National Committee for the Prevention of Torture, to advance the process of establishing the Brazilian NPM, as well as to discuss possible models.

Dr. Mario Luis Coriolano, member of the Subcommittee for the Prevention of Torture (SPT) and APT representatives, Marco Mona and Sylvia Dias Diniz, provided a framework for discussions including legal interpretations and recommendations on the NPM dispositions of the OPCAT, as well as a comparative perspective on NPMs in other countries. Significantly, this is the first time that a State Party to the OPCAT requests advice from an SPT member for the establishment of their NPM.  

A member of the National Committtee for the Prevention of Torture outlined some of the main aspects of a draft bill of law, currently being drafted by the Human Rights Secretariat (SEDH), establishing a preventive mechanism at national level under the OPCAT. The SEDH committed to take into consideration the concerns and recommendations raised by the participants when finalizing its preliminary proposal.

This preliminary draft, after being approved within the government by the concerned Ministries, will be made available for public consultation.  Invited speakers and participants emphasised unanimously that this initial outline should be considered only as a first step towards a thorough implementation process that must be open, transparent, and participative.  As a result, the SEDH committed to encouraging further consultation seminars around the country, both at federal and state levels, in order to give the opportunity to a plurality of actors to engage in the designation of Brazilian NPMs.
Outcome: The forum was fundamental to raise the attention of key actors about OPCAT implementation and, consequentely, pave the way to their more active participation in the process which, until now, has been almost exclusively led by the SEDH. The seminar brought to their attention that the process of establishing the national mechanism in Brazil is already in full motion and that there is an immediate need to monitor it closely and get actively involved in order to assure that their input shall be taken into consideration. The SEDH committed to reevaluate its current draft in light of the concerns and recommendations raised during the seminar debates.
Documents: Event Program
Contact Person:

Claudia Gerez, APT Americas Programme Officer

c...@apt.ch


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Mario Luis Coriolano, Argentine member of the Subcommittee for the Prevention of Torture and Marco Mona, APT Representative

 

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