National prevention of torture
To date, the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture has been ratified by 56 States including 26 European States. By ratifying the Convention, the Member States commit themselves to implement within one year of entry into force of the Protocol a national preventive mechanism involving regular visits to all places in which people are deprived of their liberty. At European level, 20 such national preventive mechanisms (NPMs) are already in place. NPMs are structured in different ways but all have the common goal of improving conditions of detention to ensure that they comply with human rights standards. In some countries, NPMs have been incorporated in existing ombudsman remits, while in others they are connected to state structures. All NPMs are legally independent and receive no instructions from the public authorities.
- Denmark: Parliamentary Commissioner for Civil and Military Administration
- Germany: Bundesstelle und Länderkommission zur Verhütung von Folter
- France: Contrôleur général des lieux de privation de liberté
- Luxembourg: Ombudsman
- Poland: Office of the Commissioner for Civil Rights Protection
- Sweden: Chancellor of Justice / Parliamentary Ombudsman
- Slovenia: Human Rights Ombudsperson
- Spain: Defensor del Pueblo - Spanish Ombudsman
- Czech Republic: Public Defender of Rights - Ombudsman
- UK: Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons
At European level, the European NPM Project was launched in 2009 with the goal of linking all the national preventive mechanisms in all Council of Europe Member States and promoting coordination between the international committees (CAT, SPT and CPT) and the national bodies. The idea was to set up an active European network of NPMs to promote peer exchange and a critical appraisal with a view to improving NPM work on an ongoing basis.