Torture Prevention Ambassadors

Graphic: Ambassador Kim inspects a detention facility

Association for the Prevention of Torture LogoAssociation for the Prevention of Torture
Asia Pacific Forum LogoAsia Pacific Forum

Torture and ill-treatment in places of detention continues to be an issue of serious concern in countries across the Asia Pacific, as it is in other parts of the world.

There are multiple and complex reasons why torture and ill-treatment persists today. The simple fact, however, is that it should not occur and can never be justified.

The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment places an absolute prohibition on torture and ill-treatment of people held in detention.

However, there is inevitably a gap between what the law says should happen and what happens in practice. Preventing torture is about narrowing that gap.

In 2014, the APF and the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) launched an innovative strategy to tackle the risk factors that can lead to torture and ill-treatment.


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.


Across the Asia Pacific, national human rights institutions (NHRIs) regularly monitor places of detention, from prisons and police lock ups to immigration detention centres and closed psychiatric facilities.

NHRIs also investigate allegations of torture, train law enforcement officials, promote public awareness and recommend changes to national laws and detention policies.

The Torture Prevention Ambassadors project 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.

Find out more


Graphic: Mongolian security officials trained by Ambassador Agar


Nine Torture Prevention Ambassadors from seven NHRIs in the Asia Pacific region were selected to develop and implement individual programs that would address "protection gaps" and other challenges they identified in their respective countries.

The diversity of their projects, as well as the outcomes these projects delivered, clearly illustrates that NHRIs, working in partnership with others, can be powerful agents for change.

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

We hope that all NHRIs in the Asia Pacific, as well as those in other regions, will draw inspiration from what the Torture Prevention Ambassadors project has achieved.

Together, we can prevent torture.


Ambassador de Guia with members of the Philippines police service

Find out more about the Torture Prevention Ambassadors Project, and the outcomes of country-level initiatives, in our Good Practice Report.


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

Torture Prevention Ambassadors address Human Rights Council

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


EU 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. Ambassador Kim inspects a detention facility - National Human Rights Commission of Korea
  2. Mongolian security officials trained by Ambassador Agar - National Human Rights Commission of Malaysia
  3. Ambassador de Guia with members of the Philippines police service - Commisson on Human Rights of the Philippines
  4. EU logo - EU