De Centrale Toezichtsraad voor het Gevangeniswezen

COVID-19 : CPT issues follow-up statement

On July, 9th 2020, the CPT issued a follow-up statement on its statement of principles of 20 March in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Importantly, the CPT has resumed its own visiting activities. The statement takes into account the responses received by member States on measures taken with regard to persons deprived of their liberty. In particular, most member States have increased the use of non-custodial measures and taken steps to facilitate detained persons’ contact with the outside world, whereas some have limited the use of immigration detention and improved medical screening upon admission. Highlighting the need for a human rights-based approach, the CPT concludes that the pandemic hit the hardest in places of detention where the CPT’s previous (often long-standing) recommendations had not been implemented and urged member States to seize the opportunity and make emergency measures taken sustainable, including by putting an end to overcrowding, reducing the use of remand detention, refraining from the detention of migrants and making further progress in deinstitutionalisation of mental health care. Unnecessary restrictions must be lifted. The CPT also underlined the importance of independent monitoring of places of deprivation of liberty and welcomed that many NPMs have resumed their monitoring visits.