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National Preventative Mechanism

OPCAT

The United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment was extended to the Isle of Man in 1992.

The Optional Protocol this Convention, commonly known as 'OPCAT', was extended to the Island in 2014. OPCAT has two main purposes. Firstly, it establishes and sets the mandate of the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture. Secondly, it requires countries to establish an independent National Preventative Mechanism (NPM); an NPM can consist of a single body or multiple bodies.

NPM

Under OPCAT, an NPM must, as a minimum, have the power to:

  • regularly examine the treatment of the persons deprived of their liberty in places of detention, with a view to strengthening, if necessary, their protection against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
  • make recommendations to the relevant authorities with the aim of improving the treatment and the conditions of the persons deprived of their liberty and to prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, taking into consideration the relevant norms of the United Nations
  • submit proposals and observations concerning existing or draft legislation

The Isle of Man NPM consists of three bodies which were in existence prior the extension of OPCAT to the Island:

  • Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) for the Isle of Man Prison, Custody Suites & Holding Cells
  • IMB for Cronk Sollysh (young persons' secure unit)
  • Mental Health Commission (for persons detained under the Mental Health Act 1998 )

There is an obligation under OPCAT for countries to publish and disseminate annual reports of their NPM. Although the NPM bodies have previously published information on their activities, there is now greater coordination between these bodies, including the sharing of knowledge and best practice, and annual reports for the NPM as a whole will now be published by the Isle of Man Government.

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