MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) decided to halt its visit to Ukraine as it did not get access to some sites where it suspected infringements of human rights were taking place, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said Wednesday.
"The delegation concluded that the integrity of the visit, which began on 19 May and was due to end on 26 May, had been compromised to such an extent that it had to be suspended as the SPT mandate could not be fully carried out," the UNHCR statement said.
Malcolm Evans, head of the delegation, told the UNHCR that the delegation was denied access to the sites where tortures and ill-treatment allegedly was taking place.
The UNHCR said it is only the second time it was forced to suspend its mission under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT), according to which the SPT has a right to visit all sites of detention without preliminary notification.
Evans called on Ukraine to fulfill its duties under the OPCAT that will enable the SPT to resume its mission.
"The SPT expects Ukraine to abide by its international obligations under the Optional Protocol, which it ratified in 2006. We also hope that the Government of Ukraine will enter into a constructive dialogue with us to enable the SPT to resume its visit in the near future and so work together to establish effective safeguards against the risk of torture and ill-treatment in places where people are deprived of their liberty," he said.
The Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture entered into force in 2006 and is ratified by 81 countries including Ukraine.