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Special parallel session : The value of international and national efforts to prevent torture

janvier 2001

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Geneva, Switzerland

Special parallel session : The value of international and national efforts to prevent torture

Tuesday 3 April between 13.00h and 15.00h,
Palais des Nations, Room 22

On Tuesday 3 April 2001, the Coalition of International NGO’s against Torture (CINAT ) will host a special parallel session on ’The Prevention of Torture : The Value of International and National Efforts, including the Draft Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture’.

The role of NGOs is becoming increasingly important in the prevention of torture. In particular, NGOs have a vital role to play in monitoring and documenting governments’ compliance with international obligations and governments’ accountability in responding to human rights violations when they occur. NGOs have a role in pushing for the creation of norms identifying rights and types of behaviour which should be adopted or prohibited, and by promoting these norms as well as the setting up of control mechanisms.

There is a clear need to monitor the way in which governments follow through on recommendations made in the implementation of mechanisms designed to prevent acts of torture. Furthermore, provision of technical assistance and human rights education also plays a fundamental role in the prevention of torture.

In February this year, the inter-sessional Working Group on the Draft Optional Protocol held its ninth session, which resulted in the presentation of two alternative texts. This instrument intended to set up an international visiting mechanism to all places of detention based on the principle of ’any time, any place’, and likewise provides for the possibility of technical co-operation. The last session discussed, in addition, national mechanisms to undertake visits.

The main speakers will be :
-  Christian Guillermet, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Costa Rica

-  Lisa Gormley, Legal Adviser, Amnesty International

-  Mark Thompson, Secretary General, APT

-  Patrick Byrne, President, FI.ACAT

-  Jens Modvig, MD PhD, Secretary General, International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims.

The meeting will be chaired by Eric Sottas, Director, World Organisation Against Torture.

Since 1999, CINAT has organised parallel sessions during the UN Commission on Human Rights, in recognition of the multidisciplinary approach needed to effectively work for the prevention of torture.

The theme for this year’s global campaign for the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture - 26 June will be ’Together against Torture’, reflecting the shared responsibility of all levels of society in working for the eradication of torture worldwide.

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