News : Good practice

Torture Prevention Ambassadors address Human Rights Council

Graphic: Torture Prevention Ambassadors at the Palais de Nations, Geneva

NHRIs can be powerful “actors for change”, a group of nine Torture Prevention Ambassadors from the Asia Pacific told the UN rights body.


National human rights institutions (NHRIs) can be powerful "actors for change" in the fight against torture and ill-treatment, a group of Torture Prevention Ambassadors from the Asia Pacific has told the UN Human Rights Council.

Commissioner Young-Hye Kim from the National Human Rights Commission of Korea, representing the group of nine Torture Prevention Ambassadors from seven APF member institutions, presented the statement to the Council on Monday 20 June 2016.

Over the past 18 months, the Torture Prevention Ambassadors have implemented a wide range of projects in Australia, the Maldives, Mongolia, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Korea and Timor Leste.

Their projects sought to respond to "protection gaps" and other risk factors that can lead to torture and ill-treatment in places of detention.

In the statement to the Council, Commissioner Kim highlighted the responsibility on States to take concrete steps to prevent torture and ill treatment and the valuable role that NHRIs can play to support States in these efforts, through facilitating dialogues, educating and training State officials, undertaking preventive visits to places of detention and investigating allegations of torture.

Mark Thomson, APT Secretary General, describes the potential for the Torture Prevention Ambassadors to drive long-term change in their countries across the Asia Pacific.

Established in 2014, the Torture Prevention Ambassadors project is a joint initiative of the APF and the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT).

This innovative approach sought to harness the unique mandate of NHRIs, as well as the expertise and commitment of senior NHRI staff, in a new approach to preventing torture and ill-treatment.

The Good Practice Report, which includes a summary of all the country projects of the Torture Prevention Ambassadors, was launched at a side event of the Human Rights Council on Wednesday 22 June 2016.

During their time in Geneva, the Torture Prevention Ambassadors also met to discuss the next steps for their country projects and for the Torture Prevention Ambassadors project as a whole.

"We hope that all NHRIs in the Asia Pacific, as well as those in other regions, will draw inspiration from what this project has achieved," said Kieren Fitzpatrick, Director of the APF secretariat.

"While the project has established a community of skilled practitioners in the region, it has also helped foster a new dynamic among NHRIs, state agencies and others, helping forge an environment where torture is less likely to happen."

Date: 23 June 2016

Graphic: Police officers in the Philippines stand with the TPA sign

Torture Prevention Ambassadors Good Practice Report

This report describes the good practices and lessons learned from the 18-month Torture Prevention Ambassadors Project with NHRIs in the Asia Pacific.

European Union logo

The Torture Prevention Ambassadors Project was funded by the European Union, as part of a three-year program to strengthen the capacity of NHRIs in the Asia Pacific to prevent torture and other forms of ill-treatment.

Image credits

  1. Torture Prevention Ambassadors at the Palais de Nations, Geneva - APT/Rosita Ericsson
  2. European Union logo - EU