-55. The degree of cooperation displayed towards CPT delegations was satisfactory, both at national and local level, during practically all of the visits carried out in the course of 1996; on many occasions it was excellent. The few difficulties which were encountered were due almost exclusively to a lack of knowledge at local level of the Committee's task and powers. In previous General Reports, the CPT has emphasised the importance of Parties to the Convention ensuring that detailed information on the Committee's mandate and on the obligations of Parties vis-à-vis the Committee reaches the authorities concerned (cf, for example, paragraph 5 of the 5th General Report; CPT/Inf (95) 10). Many Governments have made efforts to raise awareness about the CPT, and the Committee hopes that all Parties to the Convention shall take appropriate steps in this respect. Experience has shown that, in so doing, care should be taken to include relevant health, judicial and prosecuting authorities. Similarly, information on the CPT should be provided to municipal and regional authorities whenever they have responsibility for places where persons are deprived of their liberty. The CPT itself strives to familiarise the relevant services in a country with the Committee's mandate and working methods, in particular through promoting the organisation of information seminars in States which have recently become Parties to the Convention. Such a seminar was held in Popowo in February 19961, and helped to ensure that a very good level of cooperation was enjoyed by the CPT's delegation during the periodic visit to Poland carried out later that year. B. Meetings and follow-up of visits 6. The CPT held four plenary sessions during 1996, in the course of which seven visit reports were adopted: on visits to Italy and Romania in 1995 and to Cyprus, Germany, Poland, Switzerland and Turkey in 1996. On the whole, the Committee has continued to meet its objective of transmitting to Governments the reports on periodic visits within half a year, and reports on short ad hoc visits are sometimes transmitted within less than three months. 7. It should be noted that the CPT is increasingly working in smaller groups. In addition to meetings of the Bureau and visiting delegations, two working groups (the first to prepare the CPT's activities in the Russian Federation and Ukraine, the second to examine issues related to medical confidentiality and solitary confinement) began to operate in 1996, and the establishment of a third working group (to monitor the Committee's "jurisprudence") is currently under consideration. Further, the Committee's medical members meet on a regular basis. The activities of these different sub-groups - which as far as possible meet during plenary session weeks - should considerably enrich the CPT's work. 1 A similar information meeting was held in Prague in January 1997, shortly before the CPT's first visit to the Czech Republic.

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