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Background

Summary report and recommendations: National conference on the benefits and challenges of signing and implementing OPCAT for Palestine

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Abstract

The Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2002 and came into force in 2006.

The OPCAT is unique among international conventions and protocols in that it does not promote any new norm. Instead, it strengthens national implementation of the United Nations Convention Against Torture (UNCAT), to which the State of Palestine acceded on 2 April 2014. The OPCAT establishes a system of regular visits to all places where persons are deprived of their liberty by independent international and national monitoring bodies. On 18 October 2015, there were 80 States parties to the OPCAT (from the Arab world: Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia), and an additional 18 States signatories.

In 2015, senior Palestinian officials expressed interest in seeing Palestine sign the OPCAT. In light of this, the Office of the Presidency invited DCAF to hold, under its auspices, a national conference on the benefits and challenges of signing and implementing the OPCAT for Palestine.

This summary report highlights the main findings and recommendations of that conference.