Paving the way for Colombia's ratification of the OPCAT
The time has come for Colombia to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT). This was the message delivered by a delegation, comprised of APT Secretary-General Mark Thomson, Emilio Ginés (Spanish member of the UN Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture) and Americas Programme Officer Isabelle Heyer, during an advocacy mission to Colombia the week of 27 February.
The delegation met in Bogotá with several state officials, including the Minister of Justice, the Vice-President and President of the Human Rights Commission of the House of Representatives, the President of the Constitutional Court and the Ombudsman. It also held meetings with a wider range of other actors, such as OHCHR, the ICRC, human rights organizations and diplomats. Through this dialogue, the APT contributed to increase the understanding by all actors of the purpose and spirit of the OPCAT and support existing initiatives on the need to promptly ratify that treaty and create an independent national preventive mechanism. It is now in the hands of the Colombian Government to turn words into concrete action as a sign of commitment to the prevention of torture, a violation that remains widespread and committed by all parties of the internal armed conflict.
APT Secretary-General Mark Thomson (left) and Emilio Ginés (Spanish member of the UN Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture)