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
- LCHR organised a seminar “Topical human rights issues in Latvian prisons and potential solutions – exhange of views by administrative courts and prisons”.
- International conference "Global, regional and national mechanisms for the prevention of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment: learning from one other"
- Study visit to Slovenia on the experience of the National Preventive Mechanism
- LCHR staff trains Montenegrin NGOs how to monitor places of detention
- Training seminar for media “Reporting on Closed Institutions (prisons, police cells, psychiatric institutions, detention cells for illegal migrants)”
- International conference "Independent Detention Monitoring of Closed Institutions in the Baltic States"
- Seminar "Models of Prison Employment"
- Study visit to the Netherlands on independent detention monitoring bodies
- Training Seminar “Suicide Prevention in Prisons”: summary
- A paper 'Legal Norms of Detention and Legal Rights of Immigration Detainees in Latvia'
- Seminar "Person's rights and its observation during the short-term detention" 20.04.2004.
- Monitoring HIV, HCV, TB and Harm Reduction in Prisons: A Human Rights-Based Tool to Prevent Ill Treatment
- Improving Prison Conditions by Strengthening the Monitoring of HIV, HCV, TB and Harm Reduction. Mapping Report - Latvia.
- PRISON CONDITIONS IN LATVIA
- Monitoring Report on Closed Institutions in Latvia
- Independent Detention Monitoring in Latvia
- Human Rights in Mental Health Care in Baltic Countries
- Information for Immigration Detainees
- Monitoring Closed Institutions in Latvia (2003)