Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel and Inhumane Treatment (Research Paper No. 2)

South African ratified the UN Convention Against Torture in December 1998 and played a significant role in the drafting of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT). The UN General Assembly adopted the OPCAT in December 2002 and since February 2003 the OPCAT has been open for signature. By October 2005 there have been 48 signatures and 13 ratifications. The Protocol requires 20 ratifications to become binding on UN members. The OPCAT is a powerful international human rights instrument as it provides for national and international visiting mechanisms to all places where people are detained. This includes prisons, police cells, immigration centres, and psychiatric hospitals, amongst others. Regular visits to such facilities have been proven as an effective measure against torture and the ill treatment of people deprived of their liberty. This paper investigate the implication for South Africa should it sign and ratify the OPCAT.

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