Congress approves Optional Protocol to UN Convention against Torture
21 December 2006
In accordance with the undertakings voluntarily adopted by Brazil when standing as a candidate to the UN Human Rights Council in May 2006, the Brazilian National Congress has approved the text of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT), adopted in New York on 18 December 2002.
The OPCAT stipulates that unannounced visits to places of detention will be made by an independent international body (UN Subcommittee for the Prevention of Torture) and by independent national bodies for the purpose of preventing torture and other ill-treatment of persons who have been deprived of their liberty in the states that are parties to the convention.
The text of the Optional Protocol was approved by the Brazilian Congress on 20 December 2006 by means of Legislative Decree no. 483. This constitutional requirement for Brazil’s adherence to international treaties having thus been satisfied, it is expected that the Optional Protocol will shortly be ratified.
Brazil has been a party to the Convention against Torture since 1989, and on 26 June this year – the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture – it acknowledged the authority of the Committee against Torture to receive and consider individual allegations of violations of the Convention.
At a national level Brazil also launched the Integrated Action Plan to Combat Torture, currently being piloted in the Federal District and in six other states: Paraíba, Pernambuco, Espírito Santo, Pará, Rio Grande do Sul and Acre.
Source: Ministry of External Relations