Atlas of Torture: Monitoring and Preventing Torture Worldwide – Building Upon the Work of the UN Special Rapporteur

About the Project

The Atlas of Torture project was conceived by the Human Dignity and Public Safety Team as a follow-up to the mandate of the former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture (UNSRT) Manfred Nowak and aimed to implement UNSRT recommendations in four of the 18 countries visited through fact-finding missions. The project is funded by the EU Commission (with co-financing from the governments of Norway and the Principality of Liechtenstein) and aims to strengthen local civil society organisations and other actors in the field of torture prevention. In this context, the Atlas of Torture project focuses on numerous thematic areas adapted to the local and regional contexts of the project countries and develops and implements measures in three fundamental areas of torture prevention – combating impunity, strengthening legal protection and developing and improving mechanisms for independent monitoring of places of deprivation of liberty.

In the first phase of the project, four project countries were selected by the project team in consultation with an external Advisory Board composed of international experts in the field of torture prevention, based on the reports and experiences of UNSRT and further extensive research (questionnaires to civil society organisations, interviews with actors from international and regional organisations, consultations with governments): Moldova, Paraguay, Togo and Uruguay.

In the first cycle (2011-2012), the project was implemented in Moldova and Paraguay, while the focus of the second cycle (2012-2013) was on Togo and Uruguay.

Following a visit to the project countries to analyse the current situation (assessment visit), conferences, workshops, trainings, consultations and consultations as well as an ongoing evaluation of progress have continuously implemented the project’s objectives and thus contributed to the sustainable improvement of the situation in the area of prohibition and prevention of torture.

Within the three basic areas mentioned above, the project team has concentrated on different focal points in the respective project countries in order to ensure the most effective and sustainable implementation. A key focus that has been set in all project countries is the development and strengthening of independent controls of places of deprivation of liberty (keyword: National Preventive Mechanism) within the framework of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT). Other focal points include the further development of legal structures (penal code, criminal procedure law), the strengthening of defence lawyers, the improvement of prisoners’ rights and institutional reforms in the field of torture prevention.

In addition, the team maintains the website to provide up-to-date information on the situation of torture worldwide. The website has profiles on each state with a selection of the most important official documents, NGO reports and case law on the situation of torture and ill-treatment. The website also provides weekly news updates and a collection of substantive information on torture-related issues. The website has been continuously expanded and served as an information and communication tool within the project.

Project Data

Country: Moldova, Paraguay, Togo, Uruguay, (Georgien)
Persons involved: Moritz Birk (Project Coordinator), Tiphanie Crittin (Project Expert), Johanna Lober (Project Expert), Manfred Nowak (Project Leader), Karl Schönswetter (Project Administration), Andrea Schüchner (Project Expert), Jörg Stippel (Project Expert)
Contact persons: Giuliana Monina
Lead Organisation: Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Fundamental an Human Rights (LBI-GMR)
Partner organisations: Research platform “Human Rights in the European Context”, University of Vienna
Project start: 10/2010
Project end: 10/2013
Project completed: Yes
Funded by: European Commission, GD International Cooperation and Development, Foreign ministry of Norway, Foreign ministry of Liechtenstein
Programme Line LBI-GMR: Human Dignity and Public Security