APT-commissioned global study confirms that torture prevention works

Share Article

For the first time, a team of researchers, under the lead of Dr Richard Carver and Dr Lisa Handley, has studied the impact of torture prevention measures in 14 countries over three decades.

It is indeed reassuring to see this solid evidence that torture prevention does work. This research proves it’s worth investing in prevention and provides an objective analysis of what is needed in order to reduce the risk of torture and ill-treatment.

Over the past 30 years, a number of important steps have been taken to prevent torture and other ill-treatment around the world. There has been, however, very little research into the effectiveness of these efforts. Therefore, in 2012, the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) commissioned an independent, in-depth research to address the question: “Does Torture Prevention Work?”

The research confirms that prevention works and, more importantly, provides us with a better understanding of which measures are the most effective in reducing the risks of torture. The results have now been published by Liverpool University Press and include 14 country studies: United Kingdom, Chile, Hungary, Israel, Indonesia, Peru, South Africa, Georgia, Tunisia, Turkey, Ethiopia, India, Kyrgyzstan and the Philippines.

Clearly, it is the first hours and days of police custody that are the most critical, and where the risk of torture can be significantly reduced by safeguards that ensure that:

  • individuals are held only in lawful, documented places of detention;
  • their families and friends are notified of their arrest;
  • they have prompt access to a lawyer; and
  • they are examined by an independent doctor.

The study also found that investigating and prosecuting torturers, and independent monitoring of detention centres and prisons, make important contributions to preventing torture. Another key factor is the reliance on confession evidence in criminal proceedings. When police investigators use alternative forms of evidence gathering, the motive for, and risk of, torture declined. As one country researcher writes: “Torture is a shortcut, a substitute for good police work”.

The results of the research is of great relevance to governments and to international, regional and national torture prevention bodies in setting priorities for reforms and policies.

APT’s Secretary General, Mark Thomson, said:

“It is indeed reassuring to see this solid evidence that torture prevention does work. This research proves it’s worth investing in prevention and provides an objective analysis of what is needed in order to reduce the risk of torture and ill-treatment.”

-ENDS-

For further information, please contact:
Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT)
Rosita Ericsson
Communication Officer
Tel: +41 22 919 21 69 or +41 76 223 98 28
Email: rericsson(at)apt(dot)ch
Twitter: @apt_geneva
Website: http://www.apt.ch/en/research-project/

---
The Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) is an independent non-governmental organisation based in Geneva, working globally to prevent torture and other ill-treatment. The APT was founded in 1977 by the Swiss banker and lawyer Jean-Jacques Gautier. Since then the APT has become a leading organisation in prevention of torture. Its expertise and advice is sought by international organisations, governments, human rights institutions and other actors. The APT has played a key role in establishing international and regional standards and mechanisms to prevent torture, among them the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture (OPCAT) and National Preventive Mechanisms.

The APT’s vision is a torture free world where the rights and dignity of all persons deprived of liberty are respected. For more information on the APT please visit http://www.apt.ch.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Rosita Ericsson
@apt_geneva
since: 01/2012
Follow >
Visit website