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Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture Will Come into Force in June

      Bolivia and Honduras deposited the instrument of ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (CAT) with the UN Secretary-General on 23 May 2006. Thus the Optional Protocol has been ratified by twenty states and is to come into force on 22 June 2006. The Optional Protocol was adopted by the 57th General Assembly of the United Nations in 2002.
      The CAT, which came into force in 1987, obliges States Parties to prohibit torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and to take measures for prevention as well as prosecution of and punishment against perpetrators. Japan became the State Party to it in 1999 and its initial report on the implementation of the Convention is to be considered in 2007.
      The Optional Protocol further provides for the establishment of a Subcommittee on Prevention, consisting of individual experts, in order to ensure effective prevention of torture in prisons and detention facilities. It also requires States Parties to establish national prevention mechanisms. National prevention mechanisms are expected to visit public and private detention facilities within respective states, with a view to protecting detainees against torture. The Subcommittee on Prevention is also to make regular visits to these facilities in order to give advice and assistance to States Parties and national prevention mechanisms.

Source: Journal of the United Nations No. 2006/99 (24 May 2006), p.16.