Council of Europe

The Council of Europe oversees the human rights situation in its 47 member States and is an important organisation for the prevention of torture. Its multiple institutions include the European Court of Human Rights, the Commissioner for Human Rights, and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

The APT is part of the Council of Europe’s Conference of Non-Governmental Organisations, and regularly cooperates with its many institutions on more effectively preventing torture in the region. An example is a project to support parliamentarians to visit immigration detention centres, together with the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons of the Parliamentary Assembly.

European Committee for the Prevention of Torture

All member States of the Council of Europe have ratified the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture. The origin of the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture, which came into force in 1989, can be traced back to APT’s founder Jean-Jacques Gautier and his idea about a system for independent visits to all places of detention. The Convention set up a preventive monitoring body, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT). The CPT is an expert committee which can visit prisons, police stations, psychiatric hospitals, etc. in all member States and, on the basis of what it sees, make recommendations to the authorities to reduce the risks of torture and ill-treatment.

The CPT carried out its first visit, to Austria, in May 1990. Visit reports, government responses, public statements and general reports are available on the CPT’s website.