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Professor Malcolm Evans appointed Chair of UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture

28 February 2011

Professor Malcolm Evans, OBE, has been appointed as Chair of the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT).


Professor Malcolm Evans

Professor Malcolm Evans, OBE, has been appointed as Chair of the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT).

The combination of international and national preventive mechanisms, as provided for by the Optional Protocol, offers a powerful tool to address the central human rights concern of torture and ill-treatment

Professor Malcolm Evans


The SPT is a new kind of treaty body in the United Nations human rights system. It was established pursuant to the provisions of the Optional Protocol of the Convention against Torture (“OPCAT”). The treaty creates a two-pillar system, at the international and national levels, designed to prevent torture and other forms of ill treatment in all places of detention. The SPT functions at the international level while, at the national level, States must put in place one or several national, independent preventive mechanisms.  The OPCAT was adopted on December 2002 by the General Assembly of the United Nations and entered into force in June 2006; it currently has 57 State parties.  The SPT started its work in February 2007.

The SPT is composed of independent and impartial experts coming from different backgrounds and from various regions of the world. It has a purely preventive mandate focused on an innovative, sustained and proactive approach to the prevention of torture and ill treatment. Members are elected by States parties to the OPCAT for a four-year mandate and can be re-elected once. The SPT has recently seen a significant increase from 10 to 25 members, enabling it to expand its activities ranging from unannounced visits to places of detention to the provision of technical advice in the establishment of national independent preventive mechanisms.

Professor Evans is an expert in international human rights and specifically in the area of torture prevention and has particular expertise on the practice of the European Committee on Prevention of Torture (CPT). He is also a member of the UK Government’s Human Rights Advisory Group.

Further information

The University of Bristol Law School is a centre of expertise on a range of human rights matters. It counts among its staff a number of leading figures in the field of human rights including Professor Malcolm Evans, OBE, who is renowned for his work in the areas of torture prevention and religious rights. The Law School is also home to the Human Rights Implementation Centre (HRIC) which provides an international focus for developing expertise, advice and scholarship on the role of institutions, whether those are at the national, regional or international levels, in the implementation of human rights.

The work of the HRIC and its international partners have been recognised with significant EU funding in recent years, including nearly €1.2 million for a three-year collaborative project, to assist African institutions working for the prevention of torture, and nearly €1.2 million for an additional three-year project that aims to strengthen, support and assist with developing torture prevention mechanisms in nine countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region, which includes Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

Please contact Dr Elina Steinerte for further information.
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