Candidates to UN torture prevention body elected for 2019-2022 period

Friday, October 26, 2018

Thirteen candidates were elected in the first round, on 25 October, to serve on the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) of torture for the next four years, starting on 1 January 2019.

Elected by the States Parties to the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture (OPCAT), these five men and eight women come from 13 different countries and are drawn from a variety of backgrounds, including in law, medicine or psychiatry.

“The APT congratulates the elected candidates and looks forward to working with them. We are pleased that continuity is ensured within the SPT thanks to the re-election of current members. We trust that the skills and experiences of all future members will contribute to the strengthening of the OPCAT system and a better protection of the rights of persons deprived of their liberty in all settings,“ said Barbara Bernath, APT Secretary General.

Of the elected members, five were re-elected for a second term of four years:

  • Marija Definis-Gojanovic (medical doctor), Croatia
  • Roberto Feher (medical doctor), Uruguay
  • Gnambi Kodjo (public prosecutor), Togo
  • Catherine Paulet (psychiatrist), France
  • Nora Sveaass (psychologist), Norway

The other eight members are:

  • Patricia Arias (criminologist), Chile
  • Carmen Comas-Mata (lawyer), Spain
  • Hameth Saloum Diakhaté (psychiatrist), Senegal
  • Suzanne Jabbour (psychologist), Lebanon
  • Nika Kvaratskhelia (lawyer), Georgia
  • Maria Luisa Romero (lawyer), Panama
  • Juan Pablo Vegas (lawyer), Peru
  • Sofia Vidali (lawyer), Greece

Meeting of the OPCAT States Parties, which elected the 13 members to serve 2019-2022 period.

Established in 2007, the SPT is composed of 25 independent experts from States parties to the OPCAT, serving in their individual capacity. The SPT mandate is unique within the United Nations, as its members have unrestricted access to any place of deprivation of liberty in States parties to the OPCAT – which includes prisons, police stations, as well as mental health and social care institutions – where they must be able to conduct private and confidential interviews with detainees. Based on these visits, the SPT issues recommendations to State authorities and National Preventive Mechanisms (NPMs); and work in close collaboration with them, as well as with other international, regional and national organisations and institutions on how to better prevent torture and other forms of ill-treatment.