Seminar “for the end of torture in prisons” on friday, 30 november in São Luis

This free event, in Maranhão, to discuss the creation of a system to combat this practice, will be attended by a former UN expert.

On Friday 30 November, SMDH (Maranhão Society for Human Rights) and Conectas are hosting the seminar “For the end of torture in prisons: how experience in Brazil and the rest of the world can help combat the practice in Maranhão”. This event will take place at 2pm, in the Auditorium of the Public Defender’s Office (R. Anapurus, Block 36, number 18), in São Luís (MA).

Enrique Font, former SPT expert (UN Sub-Committee on the Prevention of Torture), Ribamar Araújo, member of the MNPCT (National Mechanism for the Prevention and Combat of Torture) and Josiane Gamba, SMDH Representative on the National Committee for the Prevention and Combat of Torture will participate in this event, which is free and does not require registration. The Conectas Lawyer, Henrique Apolinario will be mediating.

Brazil has the third largest prison population in the world and is seen by international bodies, like the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, to be one of the nations with the most serious panorama of generalised failure in its prison system. Impunity in cases of torture within Brazilian prisons was also indicated by the UN Special Rapporteur at the time, Juan Ernesto Mendéz as being “the rule and not the exception”.

One of the reasons for the existence of practices, that go back to the barbarity of slavery and the slave ships, is the difficulty in catching, registering and documenting cases, so aggressors can be held accountable.

For this reason, in 2013, after decades of civil society fighting for this and six years after Brazil had signed the Optional Protocol to the Prevention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Punishment, the 12.847 act created the National System for the Prevention and Combat of Torture, composed of mechanisms (at national and state level), made up of specialists and Committees (also at national and state level) as well as representatives of the state and civil society, responsible for discussing the impact of public policies on the practice of torture and of monitoring centres for the deprivation of liberty.

Five years after the law was passed, the state of Maranhão, currently answering internationally for the degrading conditions in the Pedrinhas Penitentiary Complex, has finally started to put a structure in place, in the state, with the aim of investigating and eradicating the practice.


For the end of torture in prisons: how experience in Brazil and the rest of the world can help combat the practice in Maranhão

Date: 30 November
Time: 2pm
Venue: Public Defender’s Office
(R. Anapurus, block 36, number 18), in São Luís (MA)

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