Places of detention are about as sovereign-bound as they get. And yet here we are; able to go right into the heart of these places

An Interview with Sir Malcolm Evans 

Former Chair of the UN Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (SPT)

By Janna Beijers

Source: Hedi Benyounes via Unsplash

What was your role in (the development of) the SPT?

I have been a member of the SPT for the past 11 years and was elected chair early in 2011, a position I held until I left the SPT at the end of last year. Before this, I had been intimately involved in the idea of the SPT. I first got interested in preventive visiting places of detention when the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (the CPT) was established back in the late 1980s, which I studied as an academic. I followed the negotiating process of the OPCAT throughout the 1990s and advocated for its adoption. So, the OPCAT has been a big part of my life for almost 30 years throughout which I have seen it from different angles as an academic, advocate, and as member of the SPT.