10th Anniversary of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT)

Ten years ago, UN Member States paved a new way for international human rights treaties to function when the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) entered into force on 22 June 2006. The prevention of torture under OPCAT is based on a triangular relationship between States Parties, the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (SPT), and national preventive mechanisms (NPM), and on the premise of a constructive dialogue and cooperation between the preventive bodies and the relevant States authorities. For OPCAT to be truly effective, all actors need to be brought together.

Celebration Event – 17 November 2016

In this spirit, and to mark the tenth anniversary of the entry into force of the OPCAT, the SPT wishes to invite all stakeholders to a conference on Thursday, 17 November 2016,  from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. in room XVII, Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland.*/

The event will bring together Member States of the United Nations, United Nations mechanisms and other intergovernmental bodies, non-governmental organizations, academics and others interested in the OPCAT and the prevention of torture and ill-treatment. Throughout the conference high-level international experts will make introductory presentations, to be followed by plenary discussions on two main objectives: 

  • Session 1:  To shed light on the ten years where OPCAT has been in force and how OPCAT has prevented torture; by identifying its added value and lessons learnt with examples of achievements and best practices of key stakeholders in the prevention of torture.
  • Session 2:  To focus on the OPCAT as a cooperative triangular relationship between State Parties, NPMs and the SPT in the prevention of torture; by identifying the challenges and ways forward, with examples of achievements and best practices of key stakeholders.

The conference will be web casted live (CET) in the original language of the conference and English on the following link: http://webtv.un.org/ 

Programme: EN

Flyer: EN, FR and ES

Speeches: You can find the speeches here


Individuals or representatives wishing to attend the conference are required to be duly registered, if not accredited to the UN office at Geneva. In order to register for the conference, all individuals or representatives must send their names (as the name appears on the national passport) and the date of attendance which correspond to the date of the conference) to the SPT Secretariat at (opcat@ohchr.org). The email must be submitted by email to opcat@ohchr.org no later than 9 November 2016 so that arrangements can be made for the issuance of United Nations ground passes to enter United Nations premises for the conference. Individuals or representatives who send that are illegible, incomplete or after the deadline may not be accredited.

To receive the ground pass, all applicants, in addition to sending the information by e-mail to opcat@ohchr.org, are required to bring a valid national passport or government issued ID bearing a photograph, and appear in person at United Nations Pass and Identification Unit, located at Pregny Gate, United Nations Office at Geneva, Avenue de la Paix 8-14, Geneva, Switzerland.

The office hours are 8.00 am to 5.00 pm, Monday through Friday. Please note that individuals or representatives must bring their passports (or government issued photo ID) every time they wish to enter UN premises. Please note that OHCHR will not provide letters of invitation for the purposes of obtaining visas. Please also note that OHCHR is unable to assist with travel and/or accommodation costs relating thereto.

Additional Information

For further information about the treaty bodies in general, and specific information on OPCAT, please consult the OPCAT Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture homepage.

(coming soon)


* Please note that as the celebration will be paid through existing resources, there is unfortunately no means to cover the costs related to the participation.