CAT/OP/12

United Nations

Optional Protocol to the
Convention against Torture
and Other Cruel, Inhuman
or Degrading Treatment
or Punishment

Distr.: General
18 June 2021
Original: English

Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel,
Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Follow-up advice of the Subcommittee to States parties and
national preventive mechanisms relating to the coronavirus
disease (COVID-19) pandemic*
I. Introduction
1.
After issuing advice on places of quarantine in March 2020,1 the Subcommittee issued
advice in April 2020 to States parties and national preventive mechanisms relating to the
coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.2 The Subcommittee then asked States parties
and national preventive mechanisms to provide information on the measures taken to
implement its recommendations.
2.
The present advice was prepared on the basis of the information received, which the
Subcommittee has decided to make public without referring to any specific State party or
national preventive mechanism. The present advice complements the previous advice issued
by the Subcommittee, and it is to serve as an instrument to evaluate both the measures
implemented and the impact of those measures on persons deprived of liberty. It will also
reinforce the universality of the measures taken to prevent torture and ill-treatment worldwide
and to minimize the negative impact of the pandemic in places of deprivation of liberty.
3.
The measures taken by some States parties in 2020 and summarized below
demonstrate the capacity of adaptation of certain penal justice systems, including by reducing
the population of places of deprivation of liberty, raising awareness about the pandemic,
paying greater attention to hygiene, intensifying care for persons with health risks and
introducing new means of communication with the outside world.
4.
In the present advice, the Subcommittee expresses its concerns with regard to certain
measures taken by States parties and the lack of political will to implement its
recommendations. It also expresses its concerns regarding the means provided to national
preventive mechanisms to continue monitoring places of deprivation of liberty during the
pandemic.
5.
In addition, the Subcommittee makes recommendations with regard to the new
challenges, such as the administration of vaccination programmes and the consolidation of
positive measures related to COVID-19.
6.
The Subcommittee acknowledges that national preventive mechanisms in many States
parties have clearly demonstrated their capacity of action during the pandemic, be it in the
scrutiny of emergency legislation, in the monitoring of the adequate implementation of
* Adopted intersessionally by the Subcommittee on 31 May 2021, pursuant to article 11 (b) of the
1
2

Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading
Treatment or Punishment.
CAT/OP/9.
CAT/OP/10.

GE.21-08240(E)

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