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Council of Europe Committee for Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Minister for Justice Simon Harris opened the application process for suitably qualified candidates to be considered for appointment as Ireland’s representative on the Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT).

The CPT was set up under the Council of Europe’s European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which came into force in 1989. It builds on Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights which provides that “No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”. The CPT provides a non-judicial preventative mechanism to protect those deprived of their liberty against torture and other forms of ill-treatment and in doing so complements the judicial work of the European Court of Human Rights.

The CPT carries out its task by periodic and ad hoc visits to places of detention, in order to assess how persons deprived of their liberty are treated. These places include prisons, juvenile detention centres, police stations, holding centres for immigration detainees, and psychiatric hospitals.

During these visits, the Committee has the right of unimpeded access at any time of the day or night to any place where persons are detained. Members do not visit the State in respect of which they have been elected.

Members of the Committee are chosen from among persons of high moral character who are known for their competence in the field of human rights or having professional experience in the areas covered by the Convention. The CPT’s current membership is composed of independent and impartial experts drawn from a wide variety of backgrounds including lawyers, medical doctors and specialists in prison or police matters.

In inviting applications, Minister Harris said, “I am pleased to invite expressions of interest from persons who wish to be considered for appointment to the CPT. This public invitation process attracted a number of high calibre candidates when it last took place in 2019 and I hope that we have the same level of engagement this time around. The work undertaken by the CPT is hugely important and this is a unique opportunity to serve one of the most important and effective European Committees. I would encourage any person interested in contributing to the Council of Europe’s work in this important area to consider applying for this position.”

The closing date for receipt of applications is 3pm on Friday, 24 February 2023.


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