Suriname reinforces its commitment to accede to UNCAT at CTI roundtable

On 20 October in Paramaribo, Suriname, the Minister for Justice and Police reinforced her country’s commitment to accede to the UN Convention against Torture at a Government of Suriname-CTI-OHCHR roundtable.

Participants at the Government of Suriname-CTI-OHCHR roundtable on UNCAT ratification and implementation

Over 30 Surinamese government officials participated in a CTI-facilitated roundtable discussion on accession and implementation of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT), held in Paramaribo, Suriname, on 20 October 2016.

The event was opened by the Minister for Justice and Police, H.E. Mrs Jennifer Dijk-Silos, along with the Ambassador of Indonesia in Suriname, H.E. Mr. Dominicus Supratikto, representing the core group of the CTI, and Mr. Armstrong Alexis, Deputy Representative of UNDP on behalf of the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Richard Blewitt. Head of the CTI Secretariat, Dr. Alice Edwards, facilitated the event.

An impressive gathering of participants took part in detailed discussions on ratification and post-ratification implementation, drawn from various government departments including justice and police, prisons, social affairs, health, national security, gender, legislative drafting, and foreign affairs. In her opening remarks, H.E. Mrs. Dijk-Silos, encouraged active dialogue and to find solutions to any challenges to ratification, concluding: I don’t expect anything else except action to accede to the UNCAT.

The event was supported by a number of international experts. Mr. Claude Heller, member of the UN Committee against Torture, provided an overview of the key substantive, operative and procedural aspects of the Convention, and on the role that periodic reporting to the Committee, a body of international review, can play – through constructive dialogue – in supporting States to improve domestic practices. Ms. Sara Vera Lopez, from the Association for the Prevention against Torture (APT), detailed the primary, recommended and optional elements to consider when drafting national anti-torture legislation.  Important contributions were made by CTI core group members, Mr. Rasmus Jensen from the Danish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Mr. Bidid Kuslandinu, Indonesian Embassy in Suriname, on their country’s experiences of ratifying the Convention, while Ms. Carla Covarrubias, OHCHR Treaty Body Capacity Building Programme, spoke of opportunities for support in preparing the initial report to the Committee and the different ways a State may organize the national preparation of periodic reports.

Participants shared their views on the opportunities presented by being party to the Convention, including the benefits of reviewing domestic practices, instructions and policies against international standards and receiving advice and support in areas such as effective criminal investigation and prosecution, handling of complaints, safeguards in police custody and prisons, and redress for victims.

Already party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture, Suriname is well-poised to accede to the UNCAT.

In looking forward, participants identified a number of steps for their post-accession roadmap on implementation. The CTI stands ready to support Suriname with next steps.

The event programme is available here.

National press on the event can be found at the following links:

‘Foltering en mishandeling uit Suriname bannen’

Juspol en Buza initiëren workshop mensenrechten

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