National Preventive Mechanism

OPCAT requires State Parties to maintain, designate or establish, an NPM within one year of ratification of the Protocol, with the possibility of postponing implementation of their obligations for a period of up to three years.   Article 18 calls on States to guarantee the functional independence of the NPM and refers institutional designers to the Paris Principles.  A current list of NPMs can be found here.

As the Table below illustrates, although the NPM is not synonymous with the NHRI, in practice two-thirds of designated NPMs are NHRIs – either as a standalone or mixed-agency format.  Notably, four countries with ‘A status’ NHRIs have nevertheless designated or created alternative structures to undertake this function.  For the majority of NHRIs modelled on the human rights ombudsman template, the role of NPM is compatible with their existing mandate – although, it may signify a formalisation of often ad hoc protocols governing detention monitoring and other core OPCAT activities.

In Latin America, NHRIs have been designated NPMs in Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Mexico.  In Honduras, a separate specialised body has been established in accordance with the OPCAT despite the existence of an A status NHRI.  The following countries in Latin America have ratified the OPCAT but are yet to designate an NPM. Signatories to the Optional Protocol are under an obligation to designate or establish an NPM within one year of ratification (article 17 of the OPCAT):

Argentina (15/11/2004) – correspondence on NPM status

Bolivia (23/5/2006) – correspondence on NPM status

Brazil (12/01/2007) – correspondence on NPM status

Guatemala (09/06/2008)

Nicaragua (25/02/2009)

Paraguay (02/12/2005) – correspondence on NPM status

Peru (14/9/2006) – correspondence on NPM status

Table: NHRIs as National Preventive Mechanisms under OPCAT

Country

Ratification

ICC status

NHRI designated NPM

Albania

01-10-2003

A

Armenia

14-09-2006

A

Azerbaijan

28-01-2009

A

Chile

12-12-2008

Not accredited

Costa Rica

01-12-2005

A

Croatia

25-04-2005

A

Czech Republic

10-07-2006

Not accredited

Ecuador

20-07-2010

A

Estonia

18-12-2006

Not accredited

Georgia

09-08-2005

A

Macedonia

13-02-2009

Not accredited

Maldives

15-02-2006

B

Mali

12-05-2005

Not accredited

Mauritius

21-06-2005

A

Mexico

11-11-2005

A

Moldova

24-07-2006

B

Montenegro

06-03-2009

Not accredited

Poland

14-09-2005

A

Serbia

26-09-2006

A

Slovenia

23-01-2007

A

Spain

04-04-2006

A

Uruguay

08-12-2005

Not accredited

NHRIs as ‘mixed’ NPMs

Moldova

03-04-2009

Not accredited

New Zealand

14-03-2009

A

Slovenia

23-01-2007

B

Sweden

14-09-2005

A

Scotland (UK)

10-12-2003

A

Non-NHRI NPMs

Cyprus

29-04-2009

Not accredited

Denmark

25-06-2004

A

France

11-11-2008

A

Germany

04-12-2008

A

Honduras

23-05-2006

A

Liechtenstein

03-11-2006

Not accredited

Malta

24-09-2003

Not accredited

Senegal

18-10-2006

A

Sweden

14-09-2005

B

Switzerland

24-09-2009

B