The Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) expresses its appreciation for the constructive and detailed written responses received from almost all member States. The information provided suggests that, in many States, steps have been taken promptly to protect persons deprived of their liberty from possible infection and to introduce measures to compensate for restrictions imposed for public health reasons.
The CPT further stresses that the ongoing crisis demonstrates the clear need to put human rights first, in decision-making in the context of the pandemic and beyond. Each measure taken by the authorities of member States should be based on a thorough assessment of its concrete implications for the human rights of all persons concerned. In short, respect for human rights should become a reflex for all officials.
From the CPT’s perspective, the pandemic also hit the hardest in those places of deprivation of liberty where previous recommendations made by the Committee had not been implemented. This relates to the entire spectrum of the CPT’s mandate: from prisons to social care homes, from psychiatric hospitals to immigration detention centres.
Finally, the CPT wishes to recall the crucial importance for the prevention of ill-treatment of monitoring of detention places by independent national and international human rights bodies. Consequently, the Committee welcomes the fact that, in several countries, National Preventive Mechanisms (NPM) and other national monitoring bodies have resumed visits to places of deprivation of liberty. The Committee has recently resumed its own visiting activities.
Please find the CPT Statement of Principles of 20 March 2020 as well as the follow-up statement further below for your information and consideration.
Source: Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT)