Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture : Portugal. 05/08/2000.
A/55/44,paras.96-105. (Concluding Observations/Comments)

Convention Abbreviation: CAT
COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE
24th Session
1-19 May 2000


CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES
UNDER ARTICLE 19 OF THE CONVENTION


Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture


Portugal


96. The Committee considered the third periodic report of Portugal (CAT/C/44/Add.7) at its 414th, 417th and 421st meetings on 3, 4 and 8 May 2000 (CAT/C/SR.414, 417 and 421), and adopted the following conclusions and recommendations.

1. Introduction

97. The Committee notes with satisfaction that the third periodic report of Portugal, which was received on time, conforms to the general guidelines for the preparation of periodic reports. It expresses its satisfaction at the full, detailed and frank nature of the report.

98. The Committee heard with interest the oral statement of the Portuguese delegation, in which details were provided of events that had occurred since the submission of the report. The Committee noted, in particular, the extension of the Convention to the territory of Macau, which had been confirmed by the Peoples' Republic of China.

2. Positive aspects

99. The Committee notes the ongoing initiatives of the State party to ensure that its laws and institutions conform to the requirements of the Convention.

100. The Committee particularly notes the following developments:

(a) The restructuring of the police agencies, which is designed to emphasize the civilian aspects of policing;

(b) The decision to set up an inspectorate of prisons;

(c) The creation of a database to streamline information relating to cases of abuse of public power;

(d) The enactment of regulations governing police use of firearms that reflect the Basic Principles on the Use of Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials;

(e) The enactment of regulations relating to conditions of detention in police lock-ups, setting out the minimum standards to be observed;

(f) The acknowledgement by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture, as a result of its 1999 inspection, that improvements have taken place with respect to prisons, including the creation of a national drug unit for prisons and the setting up of new prison health units;

(g) The initiation of the practice of monthly prison visits by magistrates to receive prisoners' complaints concerning treatment;

(h) The introduction in 2000 of a new system of police training with a curriculum developed by a board that includes representatives of civil society;

(i) The active measures that have been taken to reduce violence in Portuguese prisons;

(j) The active dissemination of information relating to the Convention, including publication for the judiciary, in an official periodical, of the proceedings relating to the second periodic report.

3. Subjects of concern

101. The Committee is concerned at continuing reports of a number of deaths and ill-treatment arising out of contact by members of the public with the police.

102. It is also concerned at continuing reports of inter-prisoner violence in prisons.

4. Recommendations

103. The State party should continue to undertake in vigorous measures, both disciplinary and educative, to maintain the momentum moving the police culture in Portugal to one that respects human rights.

104. The State party should particularly ensure that criminal investigation and prosecution of public officers are undertaken as a matter of course where the evidence reveals that they have the committed of torture, or cruel or inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment.
105. The State party should continue to take such steps as are necessary to curtail inter-prisoner violence.


1996-2001
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Geneva, Switzerland