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Council of Europe anti-torture Committee visits Belgium

Strasbourg, 14.10.2009 – A delegation of the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) carried out a visit to Belgium from 28 September to 7 October 2009. It was the CPT 's fifth visit to Belgium.

The CPT’s delegation reviewed the measures taken by the Belgian authorities to implement the recommendations made by the Committee after its previous visits. It focused in particular on the situation in prisons and on the safeguards afforded to persons in police custody. The delegation also visited for the first time the detention centre for irregular migrants in Vottem, the boarding school “’t Knipoogje” in Evergem and the “Fond’ Roy” psychiatric clinic in Uccle.

In the course of the visit, the delegation held consultations with Stefaan DE CLERCK, Minister of Justice, Annemie TURTELBOOM, Minister of Internal Affairs, and Melchior WATHELET, Secretary of State for Migration and Asylum. The delegation also met with senior officials of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Public Health, as well as the Flemish Ministry for Youth, Education, Equal Opportunities and Brussels Affairs.

The delegation further met the College of Federal Mediators and representatives of the Centre for equal opportunities and the fight against racism, the Permanent Control Committee of the Police Forces (“Comité P”) and the Inspectorate General of the Federal and Local Police Forces, as well as the General Delegate of the French Community for the Rights of the Child and representatives of the Children's Rights Commissioner at the Flemish Parliament.

At the end of the visit, the delegation presented its preliminary observations to the Belgian authorities.

The visit was carried out by the following members of the CPT:

- Joan-Miquel RASCAGNERES LLAGOSTERA (Andorran), Head of delegation
- Dan DERMENGIU (Romanian)
- Haritini DIPLA (Greek)
- Anna LAMPEROVÁ (Slovak)
- Roland MARQUET (Monégasque).

They were supported by Fabrice KELLENS, Deputy Executive Secretary of the CPT, and Stephanie MEGIES of the CPT's Secretariat, and assisted by two experts: Catherine PAULET, psychiatrist, Head of the Regional Medico-Psychological Service (SMPR) at “Les Baumettes” Prison, Marseille (France) and Christian-Nils ROBERT, Professor Emeritus of Criminal Law at the University of Geneva (Switzerland).

The delegation visited the following places:

Law enforcement establishments

- Central Police Station, Charleroi (Boulevard Mayence)
- Central Police Station, Liège (Rue Natalis)
- Intervention Centre Brussels West, Molenbeek (Rue du Facteur)
- Border Control Services, Brussels National Airport
- Central and Eurostar Posts of the Railway Police, Brussels South Train Station
- Holding cells at the Portalis Court of Justice Building, Brussels (Rue des Quatre Bras)

Detention Centres for Irregular Migrants

- INAD Centre, Brussels National Airport
- Centre for Irregular Migrants, Vottem


- Jamioulx Prison
- Ittre Prison
- Bruges Prison (in particular the “Quartier de Mesures de Sécurité Particulières et Individuelles”(QMSPI))
- Lantin Prison (in particular the Psychiatric Annexe)

Juveniles’ Institution

- Boarding School “’t Knipoogje”, Evergem

Psychiatric establishments

- “Fond’ Roy” Psychiatric Clinic, Uccle

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