Although relatively few countries in the Asia Pacific region have ratified the UN Convention against Torture (UNCAT) and its Optional Protocol (OPCAT), there is a growing momentum to prevent torture and other ill-treatment.

Our main focus therefore is to increase awareness, confidence and commitment among countries to take concrete steps towards ratification.

“Independent monitoring has a tremendous impact on the mentality, behaviour and conduct of law enforcement officials in correctional institutions. We noticed how abusive or deviant conduct by authorities gradually decreased. In some instances, such changes led to authorities having a more open attitude towards developing proper standard operating procedures for treatment of law offenders.” Pak Priyadi, Head of the Regional Office of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights in Maluku, Ambon, Indonesia

The APT has worked in the region since 2007. We have engaged through dialogue and capacity building of law enforcement officials, National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), independent oversight bodies and civil society. As a result, we have long-term constructive cooperation with, for example, the Ministry of Law and Human Rights of Indonesia, the Ministry of Justice in Thailand and individual members of Congress in the Philippines.

The APT also engages with regional organisations, such as the ASEAN Intergovernmental Human Rights Commission, Asia Pacific Forum (APF) and the South East Asia National Human Rights Institution Forum.

Examples of our work in the Asia Pacific region:

Regional: A regional platform to increase agreement on the need to prevent torture in the ASEAN region.

Regional: A 3-year project to strengthen NHRIs’ torture prevention mandate and role as change agents among National Human Rights Institutions, in cooperation with APF.

Indonesia: An ongoing cooperation to enhancing the role and capacity of five national oversights in detention places. This will also help build government and authorities’ confidence and commitment to join OPCAT in the future.

Philippines: Collaboration with national actors towards influencing national processes in designating an effective and independent National Preventive Mechanism (NPM).