Prevention of torture: practices, standards and regulations in Russia, Nordic and Baltic countries

Participants: Citizens’ Watch (coordinator, Russia), Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania), Civil Rights Defenders, Norwegian Helsinki Committee (Norway)
Period: September 2018 — May 2019
GrantmakerThe Nordic Council of Ministers

Conditions in prisons, mental hospitals, detention centres for migrants are often close to torture. Repeatedly, persons in such institutions complained about the lack of light, fresh air, and unsanitary conditions. In prisons and pre-trial detention centres one has to share a place for sleeping with two or even three other prisoners; the cells are overcrowded. There’s no telling what is happening in psychiatric hospitals and detention centres. The right to freedom from torture is a fundamental human right enshrined in the Convention on Human Rights, the Convention against Torture, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Norway, Sweden and Lithuania signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture. These countries established a special body to oversee closed institutions, the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM). The powers of NPM are broader than those of the Russian Public Observation Commissions.

The proposed exchange of experience will be the first project to be carried out in this field.

The project activities include:

  • meeting of experts from NGOs, Public Monitoring Commissions and NPM
  • study trip to Norway and Sweden for experts
  • training on implementation of developed methodology
  • publishing the Methodology for NGOs and institutions visiting places of detention, with instructions and advice for conducting monitoring of and reporting on places of detention and human rights conditions

Photo by Ye Jinghan on Unsplash