NGOs call for haste in creation of torture prevention mechanism
The National System to Combat and Prevent Torture, which was signed into law nearly a year ago, has yet to be put into effect. According to a commitment signed by Brazil in the UN, the system ought to have been operational since 2008, but the process is stalled over the choice of the 23 members of the National Committee to Combat and Prevent Torture (CNPCT) – the body responsible for appointing the 11 experts that will have unrestricted access to detention centers across the country to investigate torture.
A list of candidates has already been authorized by the Special Secretariat for Human Rights, but it has been awaiting the approval of President Dilma Rousseff for more than three months.
In an open letter to President Rousseff, the Criminal Justice Network, of which Conectas is part, and the Association for the Prevention of Torture called for a speedy conclusion of the selection process.
“For the law to be effectively observed and for progress to be made on torture prevention in Brazil, it is essential for the appointment of the members of the CNPCT to be made as quickly as possible,” reads the document.
Read the letter in full.
The law in practice
The National System to Combat and Prevent Torture, provided for in Law 12,847, links and reforms three existing bodies (the National Council on Criminal and Prison Policy and the National Prison Department, both linked to the Ministry of Justice, and the National Committee to Combat and Prevent Torture, linked to the Secretariat for Human Rights) and creates one new body: the National Mechanism to Combat and Prevent Torture, which is comprised of 11 experts with an independent agenda and free access to the country’s detention facilities. Based on their prison inspections, the members of the mechanism may request investigations, conduct medical examinations, prepare reports, catalogue data and recommend public policies.