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The CPT in brief

Preventing ill-treatment of persons deprived of their liberty in Europe

The CPT organises visits to places of detention, in order to assess how persons deprived of their liberty are treated. These places include prisons, juvenile detention centres, police stations, holding centres for immigration detainees, psychiatric hospitals, social care homes, etc.

CPT delegations have unlimited access to places of detention, and the right to move inside such places without restriction. They interview persons deprived of their liberty in private, and communicate freely with anyone who can provide information.

After each visit, the CPT sends a detailed report to the State concerned. This report includes the CPT’s findings, and its recommendations, comments and requests for information. The CPT also requests a detailed response to the issues raised in its report. These reports and responses form part of the ongoing dialogue with the States concerned.

The CPT’s full title is the “European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment”. This highlights two important features: first, it is European, and second, it not only covers “torture”, but also a whole range of situations which could amount to “inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.

A system of visits

Visits are carried out by delegations, usually made up of several CPT members, accompanied by staff members of the Committee's Secretariat and, if necessary, by additional experts and interpreters. 

CPT delegations carry out visits on a periodic basis (usually once every four years), but additional “ad hoc” visits are carried out when necessary.

The Committee must notify the State concerned that it intends to carry out a visit. After notification, the CPT delegation may go to any place where persons may be deprived of their liberty at any time and without notice.

Co-operation and confidentiality

The principles of co-operation and confidentiality are embodied in the international convention which establishes the CPT.


Structure of the CPT




(as of 17/02/2017)

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Further reading

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