Tunisia’s National Authority for the Prevention of Torture visits Switzerland

Bern, 10.02.2017 - As part of a cooperation project between the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) and the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) supported by the Human Security Division of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), Tunisia’s National Authority for the Prevention of Torture (INPT) will undertake a working visit to Switzerland from 12 to 16 February 2017. Members of the INTP will meet with representatives of the Swiss National Commission for the Prevention of Torture (NCPT) and of the FDFA to discuss the work of the INTP and the challenges it faces.

During the regime of former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, torture and other forms of ill-treatment were widespread in Tunisia, but since 2011 the country has endeavoured to break with this legacy. The ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture in June 2011 underscored the nation’s desire to create a new democratic republic that respects human dignity.

Complementing Tunisia’s efforts as part of the programme to prevent torture in North Africa, which is supported by the FDFA’s Human Security Division, two Geneva-based organisations, the APT and the OMCT, are organising a working visit to Switzerland by seven members of the INTP. 

The INPT delegation will take advantage of this visit to meet their Swiss counterparts at the NCPT and benefit from their experience. They will also meet members of specialised organisations such as the UN Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture and the International Committee of the Red Cross, and visit the Swiss Prison Staff Training Centre in Fribourg. The meeting scheduled with the FDFA will focus on the challenges faced by the INTP and more generally on the progress Tunisia has made since 2011 in the fight against torture and other forms of ill-treatment, as well as on the need to assess the work that remains to be done together.

The establishment of the National Preventive Mechanism, the first in North Africa, delivers on a commitment made by Tunisia in 2011 and is an important step in the international fight against torture, which is one of the priorities of Swiss foreign policy on human rights. In keeping with its support for the democratic transition process in Tunisia since 2011, the FDFA welcomes this step forward. The FDFA also welcomes the INTP delegation’s visit to Switzerland, which is a testament to the mutual trust between Switzerland and Tunisia and their joint commitment to the prevention of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment. The FDFA encourages other countries in the region to embark on this path.

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Federal Department of Foreign Affairs