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International Torture Prevention

In December 1984, the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT) was adopted. The Convention places an obligation on State parties to take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture within its jurisdiction. It further prohibits a State party from expelling, returning or extraditing a person to another State where they are likely to be subjected to torture.

On 20 September 2006, South Africa signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) and ratified it on 19 and 28 March 2019 respectively. In compliance with Article 27, South Africa deposited its instrument of ratification of the OPCAT with the Secretary-General of the United Nations in New York on 20 June 2019. Under Article 28 (2), the OPCAT came into effect for South Africa on 20 July 2019.

Which places can be visited by the NPM?

Article 4 of the OPCAT is very broad to cover both public and privately run institutions where persons are not free to leave at will. The NPM may visit any place where people are or may be deprived of their liberty, including police stations, correctional facilities (military and civilian), immigration detention centres, child and youth care facilities and secure care facilities, mental health and social care institutions.


For more information please contact the South African National Preventive Mechanism:

Dr. Kwanele Pakati

Contact: Ms Sibongiseni Tula
E: stula@sahrc.org.za / npm@sahrc.org.za
T: +27 11 877 3780

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