Based on a presidential decree issued in June, Brazil’s multi-body national preventive mechanism will no longer be remunerated for work relating to the mechanism. This will detrimentally affect their capacity to conduct visits to places of detention, as well as their ability to report on observed conditions and to make recommendations for change. Brazil ratified the Optional Protocol for the Prevention of Torture (OPCAT) in 2007, although its NPM has only been designated and in operation since 2015.
According to the World Prison Brief, Brazil’s prison population currently stands at 714,899 people in custody. Its prisons have received criticism for overcrowding, high levels of violence, and a lack of much-needed funding and resources. This impediment to the work of the NPM will substantially weakens vital safeguards and oversight for vulnerable people in custody.
The decision has been met with criticism from the Association for the Prevention of Torture as well as NPM counterparts from other countries. Barbara Bernath, Secretary General of the APT, comments, “The Decree constitutes a severe setback in national human rights policies. We strongly urge the government to reconsider this decision and assure the effective functioning of the NPM.”
For comment by the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture, click here.
For comment by the Association for the Prevention of Torture, click here.