Image: Torture by prison officials at Agunakolapalassa prison came in to light through a leaked CCTV footage.
(Press release/29 March, 2019) GENEVA — The United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture is set to carry out its first visit to Sri Lanka from 2 to 12 April to examine the treatment of people deprived of their liberty and the safeguards in place for their protection against torture and ill-treatment.
The four-member delegation will meet government officials and hold discussions with relevant ministries, as well as meeting with the Human Rights Commission and civil society organisations. Their talks in Colombo will focus on advising and assisting the Sri Lankan authorities regarding the measures they must take to be in compliance with the obligations contained in the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture.
The Subcommittee will be visiting places of deprivation of liberty and will hold discussions on Sri Lanka establishing an independent National Preventive Mechanism. The Optional Protocol, which Sri Lanka ratified in 2017, requires such a mechanism to be established with the authority and capacity to undertake preventive visits to any place where persons may be deprived of their liberty.
“During our visit we will be exploring the steps Sri Lanka needs to take to effectively prevent torture and ill-treatment of people deprived of their liberty,” said Victor Zaharia, who will head the delegation. “We will also advise the authorities on the full implementation of their treaty obligations, including how they can best establish a national independent body to visit places of detention.”
The delegation will be composed of Victor Zaharia, Head of Delegation (Republic of Moldova), Satyabhooshun Gupt Domah (Mauritius), Petros Michaelides (Cyprus), and June Lopez (Philippines).
The Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture monitors States parties’ adherence to the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture which to date has been ratified by 89 countries. The Subcommittee is made up of 25 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. The Subcommittee has a mandate to undertake visits to States parties, during the course of which it may visit any place where persons may be deprived of their liberty. Learn more with our videos on the Treaty Body system and on the Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture!