All States Parties to the UN Convention against Torture can ratify or accede to the OPCAT. Above all, this requires political commitment to prevent torture and other forms of ill-treatment.
Becoming a party to the OPCAT does not involve any additional reporting to the UN or submitting periodic reports to the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture.
The obligations under the OPCAT are more of a practical nature:
- A State Party must establish an independent national detention monitoring body, called National Preventive Mechanism (NPM), within one year after ratification.
- The State must open up all places of detention under its jurisdiction and control to external scrutiny by the NPM and the SPT.
- The State must provide all relevant information to the NPM and the SPT. It must also cooperate fully with these national and international visiting bodies and facilitate contacts between them.
- The State must allocate adequate resources to the NPM.
- The State must consider the recommendations of the NPM and SPT and engage a dialogue with them on their implementation.
- The State must publish the annual reports of the NPM.
States Parties to the OPCAT do not need to extend an invitation to the SPT in order to receive a visit: it is part of their obligations once they have ratified or acceded to the OPCAT.
Possibility to delay obligations
At the moment of the ratification, States have a possibility to defer for a maximum of three years either their national obligations to establish a National Preventive Mechanism or their obligation to receive visits by the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture. States cannot opt out from both the international and national obligation.
Financial assistance for implementation
There are opportunities for financial assistance for States to implement the OPCAT. Read more about the OPCAT Special Fund.