Press Releases

    29 July 2002

    High Commissioner for Human Rights Welcomes Decision on Draft Optional Protocol to Anti-Torture Pact

    GENEVA, 25 July (UN Information Service) -- United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson has welcomed the decision of the Economic and Social Council to recommend that the General Assembly adopt a draft optional protocol to the Convention against Torture.

    Mrs. Robinson called the decision, taken on 24 July 2002 at the Council's meeting in New York, "an important step towards the establishment of a new international mechanism to prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment". She hoped the way was now clear for the General Assembly to make the new mechanism a reality, she added.

    The objective of the draft Optional Protocol is to establish a system of regular visits by independent international and national bodies to detention centres and prisons.

    The decision was adopted by a vote of 35 in favour to 8 against, with 10 abstentions, following the defeat of an amendment that sought to extend negotiations on the text.

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