Investigating allegations of torture
Graphic: Inmates in a prison, Maldives
Regional training course for APF members will examine the skills and international standards for conducting timely and effective investigations.
Conducting timely and effective investigations into allegations of torture will be the focus of a regional training program for APF members, starting this month.
In many countries, NHRIs are often the first – and sometimes the only – direct point of contact for victims of torture, especially where no other complaint mechanism is available or effective.
According to international standards, investigations of torture should be prompt, impartial, thorough and effective. In addition, the body conducting the investigation should be independent and readily accessible.
While not every NHRI has investigative powers, all NHRIs are meant to take action when they receive allegations of torture and other forms of ill treatment.
"This course will examine what an effective investigation looks like and what kind of investigation might be required in different circumstances," said Kate Turner-Mann, the APF's Regional Training Manager.
"Our goal is to build the capacity of individual staff members and, more broadly, their national human rights institutions to fully investigate and document allegations of torture."
The blended learning course, to be run in partnership with the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) and the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims, will outline investigative techniques relevant for NHRIs that conduct legal investigations and for those that work to document instances of torture.
The course will draw on Preventing Torture: An Operational Guide for National Human Rights Institutions, published by the APF, APT and OHCHR. There will also be a focus on the Istanbul Protocol and other relevant international standards pertaining to the documentation of torture.
The four week online course will take place from 25 April-20 May 2016. It will be followed by a week-long workshop, to be hosted by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM), in Kuala Lumpur in early June.
- Inmates in a prison, Maldives - APF/Michael Power