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Press Release


European Committee for the Prevention of Torture: 
Publication of the report on the visit to Switzerland in 1996 and the response of the Swiss Government


STRASBOURG, 26.06.97 The Government of Switzerland has agreed to the publication of the report of the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) on its visit to Switzerland in February 1996 and of the interim report drawn up by the Swiss authorities in response to the Committee's report.

Under Article 11 of the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the information gathered by the CPT in relation to a visit, its report and its consultations with the State concerned are confidential. However, the State concerned may agree to lift the rule of confidentiality provided for in the Convention.


The CPT's visit to Switzerland was carried out from 11 to 23 February 1996, within the framework of the Committee's programme of periodic visits for 1996. It was the Committee's second periodic visit to Switzerland (the first having taken place from 21 to 29 July 1991). The CPT's delegation visited the following places of detention:

Canton of Berne

Canton of Geneva

Canton of Ticino

Canton of Valais

Canton of Vaud

Canton of Zurich

(1) Establishments first visited by the CPT during its periodic visit to Switzerland in 1991


The CPT was set up under the 1987 European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The following member States of the Council of Europe are bound by the Convention: Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" (as from 1 October 1997), France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine (as from 1 September 1997) and the United Kingdom. The CPT is composed of persons from a variety of backgrounds: lawyers, medical doctors, prison experts, persons with parliamentary experience, etc. The Committee's task is to examine the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty. For this purpose, it is entitled to visit any place where such persons are held by a public authority. It may formulate recommendations to strengthen, if necessary, their protection against torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The CPT organises periodic visits as well as any other visits which appear to it to be required in the circumstances.


The CPT's report on its visit to Switzerland and the interim report drawn up by the Swiss authorities in response to the Committee's report (209 pages) can be obtained from:

A 7 page summary of the CPT's main findings can be faxed upon request.


Founded in 1949, the Council of Europe is the oldest European organisation. Based in Strasbourg, France, it has 40 member countries and covers every policy area except defence. It is entirely separate from the European Union.


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