COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE
1-19 May 2000
OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE 19 OF THE CONVENTION
Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture
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.
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
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
(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
(i) The active measures that have been taken to reduce violence in Portuguese
(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
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.