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On October 24th 2012 the Bill on the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (OPCAT) was definitively approved by the Chamber of Deputies of the Italian Parliament.
Transmitted to the Chamber by the Senate on September 19th 2012, the Bill on the ratification of the OPCAT has collected nearly unanimous adhesion by the Chamber of Deputies. Among the 446 deputies present at the vote, 438 have voted in favor, 8 have abstained and no one has expressed his opposing vote.
At the end of the session of the Chamber, Pietro Marcenaro, President of the Special Human Rights Commission of the Italian Senate and sponsor of the bill, has expressed his satisfaction for the conclusion of the parliamentary procedure concerning the OPCAT ratification, considered "an important step for human rights."
The OPCAT, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 18th 2002 and entered into force on June 22nd 2006, was signed by Italy on August 20th 2003. It establishes a “double pillar” system of inspecting and monitoring places of detention aiming at preventing torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatments or punishments: on the international level, a new treaty body, the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture, has been created; on the national level, Member States have the obligation to establish special independent bodies, i.e. National Preventive Mechanisms (NPMs) within a year from the ratification of the Protocol.