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Convention against Torture: UN Protocol

Volume 653: debated on Tuesday 29 January 2019

The optional protocol to the convention against torture (OPCAT), which the UK ratified in December 2003, requires states parties to establish a “national preventive mechanism” (NPM) to carry out visits to places of detention to prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

The Government established the independent UK NPM in March 2009, and extended its membership in December 2013, and in January 2017. The UK NPM is currently composed of 21 scrutiny bodies covering the whole of the UK, and prepares annual reports on its activities. It also has an independent website at:

Following previous practice, I have presented to Parliament the ninth NPM’s annual report (Command Paper CP 17). This report covers the period from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018. This year we mark 10 years since the establishment of the NPM, and I continue to commend the important work that the NPM has carried out over this period and the NPM’s independent role in safeguarding the human rights of detainees across the UK. I also note the NPM’s observations on prisons, children in detention, police custody, immigration detention, health and social care detentions, and court custody.