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CTI’s regional seminar, hosted by the Government of Indonesia, titled “Sharing experiences and building State capacity in South East Asia and the wider Asia-Pacific region: Strengthening institutional and legislative frameworks for effective law enforcement”, began productively yesterday in Bali, Indonesia. Participants are exchanging over three days on the latest research, new practices and examples from Asia-Pacific and other States on innovations and reforms which reinforce rules-based systems of justice and tackle the conditions allowing the practice of torture and ill-treatment to occur.
A focus on prevention was encouraged, as better than cure. Keynote speaker and representing the host country, Deputy Minister for Multilateral Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, H.E. Febrian A. Ruddyard, recalled the “culture of prevention” of ASEAN’s human rights agenda as a helpful approach to law enforcement, and the need for a shift in mindset from reactive to proactive policing practices.
H.E. Hasan Kleib, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Indonesia to the UN in Geneva, as host of the seminar, welcomed participants and reminded:
“We need to better understand the causes; what incentivises the practices; how do we identify the risks and symptoms; and what are the different techniques and practices that do work to help police, law enforcement and other actors to carry out their work effectively, fairly and with transparency.”
H.E. Ramses Joseph Cleland, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Ghana to the United Nations in Geneva, speaking on behalf of the CTI core group of States, reminded participants:
“Even a single incident of abuse can rattle the most stable of countries, and undermine trust in those mandated to protect and serve.”
He added that the many benefits flowing from ratifying and implementing the UN Convention against Torture were relevant “for the effectiveness of our institutions, for economic development and stability, and for harmony within our societies and for our people.”
H.E. Ambassador Raphael Nägeli, Assistant State Secretary for the Asia-Pacific, Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, which is co-funding the event, similarly shared:
“The Convention provides a kind of guide, which helps Governments fulfil their obligation to eradicate torture (…) The respect of the prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment is also an essential prerequisite for the sustainable development of any society.”
Sharing experiences, challenges and good practices, the proceedings are covering topics including:
- Root causes behind the occurrence of abusive practices;
- Legislative aspects of the Convention, especially around the criminalisation of torture as a specific offence;
- Sharing States’ pathways and developments towards ratifying UNCAT
- Strengthening the effectiveness of policing and related agencies through training and capacity building on new alternative interviewing techniques, safeguards and other practices that simultaneously support successful crime resolution as well as prevent incidents and incentives for torture and ill-treatment;
- Types and models of institutions and mechanisms providing checks and balances against misconduct, yet also building national capacities and raising awareness of rights and procedures amongst the authorities and citizens alike.
CTI’s regional seminars provide the opportunity to exchange experiences and challenges, as well as learn from one another on how to build stronger regulatory frameworks, boost States’ capacity in the fields of justice administration and torture prevention, and enhance regional cooperation.
Hosted by the Government of Indonesia as a CTI core State, and in partnership with the Association for the Prevention of Torture, CTI’s Bali seminar is benefiting from the attendance of a total of 68 participants from various stakeholders, including representation from 18 States.* It is also being attended by representatives of the UN Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, and subject-matter experts. The seminar concludes on 28 November.
For States interested in further information about ratification and/or implementation of UNCAT or the subjects of the seminar, please reach out to the CTI Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Participating States include: Cambodia, Chile, People’s Republic of China, Fiji, Ghana, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Morocco, Myanmar, Nauru, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Switzerland, Thailand, Tonga, and Viet Nam.