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UN torture prevention body to visit Tunisia

GENEVA (24 March 2022) - The UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) is set to visit Tunisia from 27 March to 2 April 2022 to assess the country’s implementation of the recommendations it made during its previous visit.

"Tunisia was the first country in North Africa to establish a National Preventive Mechanism (NPM), which the SPT has been supporting since its inception,” said Abdallah Ounnir, Chair of the four-member delegation. “We are pleased to return to meet with members of the NPM to see the progress of their work and advise on how to make improvements.”

“We will also meet with government authorities to discuss prevention policies and visit places of deprivation of liberty, which we did not do during our first visit,” he added.

Tunisia ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) in 2011 and adopted local legislation in 2013 to set up its NPM, the country’s torture prevention watchdog to monitor places where people are deprived of their liberty.

The SPT visited Tunisia for the first time in 2016, when its NPM became operational, and urged the State party to provide enough resources for the NPM to fully perform its function. The Subcommittee was due to revisit Tunisia in 2020 but the trip was postponed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During its upcoming visit, the SPT delegation will also hold meetings with other entities, including judges, prosecutors and civil society representatives. After the visit, the SPT will share its report with the authorities. The report will remain confidential unless Tunisia decides to make it public.

Under its mandate, the SPT can undertake visits to all States parties to the Optional Protocol and carry out unannounced visits to all places where people are deprived of their liberty. To date, the SPT has visited over 60 countries since 2007, when it began its mandate.

The SPT considers that the fundamental element in the prevention of torture and ill-treatment is the establishment of a constructive relationship with every State party and its preventive mechanism. The guiding principles of this relationship are cooperation and confidentiality.

The SPT delegation comprises Abdallah Ounnir (Morocco), Head of Delegation, Hamet Diakhate (Senegal), Marina Langfeldt (Germany) and Gnambi Garba Kodjo (Togo).


For media inquiries or more information, please contact:

Tunisia: Joao Nataf, +41 79 874 7790 or +216 98 745 084 / joao.nataf@un.org
Geneva: Vivian Kwok at +41 (0) 22 917 9362 / vivian.kwok@un.org  or UN Human Rights Office Media Section at +41 (0) 22 928 9855 / ohchr-media@un.org


To date, the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture has been ratified by 91 states. States are under the obligation to allow the SPT unannounced and unhindered visits to all places where persons are deprived of their liberty. States Parties should also establish a national preventive mechanism, which should conduct regular visits to places throughout the country where people are deprived of liberty.

The mandate of the SPT is to prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of persons deprived of their liberty, through visits and recommendations to States parties to the Optional Protocol. The SPT communicates its recommendations and observations to States by means of a confidential report and, where necessary, to national preventive mechanisms. However, States parties are encouraged to request that the SPT publish the reports.

The SPT is composed of 25 independent and impartial members who are independent human rights experts drawn from around the world, who serve in their personal capacity and not as representatives of States Parties.

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