Closed Institutions

Promoting and protecting the human rights of persons detained in 'closed institutions'  is an important area of the Latvian Centre for Human Rights (LCHR) work. As highlighted by successive human rights reports issued by the LCHR and report of the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture, conditions in many of Latvia's closed institutions and policy within them are major human rights concerns. Non-governmental organisations with considerable expertise in human rights can make a significant contribution to improving conditions and reforming policy in closed institutions through training, monitoring, advocacy work and legal strategies.

In order to change the attitudes and behaviour of prison, police and mental health staff - those most directly responsible for implementing human rights in closed institutions, several issues should be addressed. First of all, staff must gain knowledge about the relevant human rights standards, particularly the Convention for the Prevention of Torture; second, staff must be made to feel the watchful eye of outside experts and the informed interest of the public; third, staff must be aware that their clients can resort to litigation to defend themselves. The LCHR employs following methods in working with the closed institutions:

  • Monitoring visits to the closed institutions
  • Legal assistance to clients of closed institutions
  • Training seminars and conferences

Closed Institutions