You are here : HomeNational Debate on the Implementation of the OPCAT

  • Reduce
  • Enlarge

National Debate on the Implementation of the OPCAT

The Advisory Council on Human Rights (CCDH) organized in cooperation with the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT), on February 3-4, 2009 in Rabat, a national seminar on options for implementing the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT).

The objective of this seminar, which was attended by many national and international experts, CCDH representatives, government departments, parliamentarians, civil society activists and the press, was to set the stage for an effective implementation of the OPCAT, so that Morocco adheres to it. The OPCAT, adopted to prevent torture, provides for the establishment of a system of regular visits to places of detention by national and international independent bodies. This helped open a practical and constructive debate between the experts and authorities at national and institutional levels.

The first pillar of the OPCAT’s approach is the program of visits carried out by the Subcommittee on Prevention. In this, the OPCAT follows the precedents of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and the International Committee of the Red Cross, which have carried out similar functions for many years.

The approach adopted by the OPCAT is based on the creation or designation of a national mechanism to prevent torture in the state party, which should be in charge of the same missions as the Sub-Committee and with similar guarantees at the local level. The OPCAT thus combines periodic scrutiny by experts from around the world, with the more frequent visits to a larger number of places of detention by the national mechanism.

The practice of countries in this area has revealed two major options: the first is to assign this task to existing national institutions, such as a national human rights institutions or ombudsman, and the second is to create new institutions discharging the tasks of the national preventive mechanism.

In this regard, the participants, during the two-day debate, considered options for the implementation of the OPCAT for Morocco, highlighting its scope and importance in opening debate between the government and associations for its implementation. They stressed the need for expertise and credibility to ensure the effectiveness of the national machismo to-be, which should be provided with the material and human means necessary to fulfill its missions.