Department of Justice and Constitutional Development
23 July 2019
The National Torture Preventive Mechanism (NTPM) has been launched.
The NTPM flows from the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT), ratified by parliament earlier this year.
Speaking during the launch, the deputy minister of justice and constitutional development, John Jeffery, confirmed that OPCAT came into force on 20 July 2019.
He added that the effectiveness of OPCAT is dependent on a strong and independent NTPM.
The NTPM is tasked with carrying out site visits to prevent torture in places of detention “where persons are deprived of their liberty by public authorities, or by a court order or State sanction”.
The deputy minister clarified that the following institutions will be able to contribute to the work of the NTPM, subject to legislative amendments to their enabling legislation and/or the conclusion of a memorandum of agreement:
• The Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services;
• The Independent Police Investigative Directorate;
• The Military Ombud;
• The Health Ombud;
• The Compliance Inspectorate of the Office of Health Standards Compliance;
• The Department of Social Development’s secure care and Child and Youth Care Centres’ monitoring mechanism; and
• Mental Health Review Boards.
According to the deputy minister, the NTPM is vital, from a human rights perspective, as it is to “regularly examine the treatment of the persons deprived of their liberty in places of detention, with a view to strengthening their protection against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.
The NTPM is also tasked with making recommendations on improving the treatment and conditions of persons deprived of their liberty and submitting proposals and observations concerning existing or draft legislation.