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'We must resist the temptation to dilute the absolute ban on torture'

PACE President praises CPT for its work and warns against temptations to dilute the absolute prohibition of torture

“The absolute prohibition of torture, enshrined in Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, is undoubtedly the cornerstone of the system of protection of human rights in Europe. This ban may not be suspended, or be waived, even in time of war or other public emergency threatening the life of the nation. Today, at a time when the fear of terrorism resurfaces, it is our shared responsibility to resist any temptation to dilute this rule,” Anne Brasseur stressed today at a Conference organised in Strasbourg to mark the 25th anniversary of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) of the Council of Europe.

Praising the outstanding work of the CPT, the President recalled that parliamentarians also had the responsibility to open up “these opaque places where people are detained and to denounce inhumane conditions and abuses. The work of our Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons is fundamental in this regard: it has developed a guide aiming at raising awareness of the right of parliamentarians to visit detention centers for irregular migrants and asylum seekers and it actively encourages MPs in carrying out these visits.”

“For the first time, the national delegations to PACE will be organising simultaneous visits to immigration detention centers in our 47 member states on the International Migrants Day (18 December) 2015,” she said announcing that she was going to visit the detention center for irregular migrants and asylum seekers in Luxembourg on 3 March 2015 together with her colleagues from the Luxembourg PACE delegation.

In her speech, the President also made reference to a PACE report on the “Abuse of pretrial detention” which, will, as she pointed out, make reference to “the CPT’s standards and recommendations on acceptable prison conditions in order to identify cases of abuse, where harsh conditions in pre-trial detention are deliberately used to put pressure on detainees in order to force them to cooperate. The well-known case of Sergei Magnitsky, in Russia, which has given rise to a special report in the Assembly, is only one example of such abuse, and is a particularly cruel one,” she said.