International conference "Global, regional and national mechanisms for the prevention of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment: learning from one other"
On 12-13 November, Latvian Centre for Human Rights (LCHR) organised an international conference "Global, regional and national mechanisms for the prevention of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment: learning from one other. Celebrating 25 years of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture” in Riga. The conference was funded by the European Commission, the Council of Europe, and the Open Society Foundations.
The conference’s aims were: to assess the impact of the CPT and other human rights mechanisms on the developments in prisons and police detention facilities in Latvia and other Baltic States; to raise awareness on the UN OPCAT and existing NPM models in the region; to share the experiences among the Baltic states how to ensure independent monitoring of places of detention at national level; and to raise the awareness about the CPT standards among the practitioners (prison doctors, police, etc.) The effectiveness of human rights standards on different levels for prevention of potential violation of human rights was discussed by the representatives of the Committee for Prevention of Torture of the Council of Europe, the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Scotland, the Netherlands, and Slovenia.
The first conference day was opened by the Parliamentary Secretary of Ministry of Justice Jānis Iesalnieks, CPT President Latif Huseynov, and the LCHR director Anhelita Kamenska. The conference was moderated by LCHR project coordinator and member of CPT in respect of Latvia, lawyer Ilvija Pūce. Independent consultant, former president of the CPT and SPT Silvia Casale gave an opening presentation on global (UN SPT), regional (CoE CPT) and national independent monitoring mechanisms, their role and importance. Latif Huseynov spoke on the CPT activities regarding Latvia and the future prospects of the CPT. The Director of Division on Sectoral Policy of the Latvian Ministry of Justice Olga Zeile provided an overview on the impact of the CPT reports and recommendations on the developments in the Latvian prison system. Dimitrijs Trofimovs, the Director of Division on Sectoral Policy of the Latvian Ministry of Interior in his turn, focused on the impact of the CPT and other CoE mechanisms on the developments in the Latvian police. Head of Civil and Political Rights Department of the Ombudsman’s Office Ineta Piļāne gave a presentation on the Office experience in monitoring places of detention and response of the authorities. The second part of the conference day continued with the panel discussion on the ratification of UN OPCAT, NPM models and effective NPMs. The participants of the panel discussion were Latif Huseynov, Mari Amos, SPT Member and Europe Focal Point from Estonia, Ivan Šelih, Deputy Ombudsman of Slovenia, Head of the NPM, Vincent Delbos, Controller, French National Preventive Mechanism, and Kristina Brazevič, Advisor of Human Rights Division, the Lithuanian Seimas Ombudsmen's Office.
The second conference day was opened by Ilvija Pūce. A comprehensive overview about the CPT’s work, relevant standards and key concerns regarding prisons and police establishment was given by the Head of Division of the Secretariat of the CPT Michael Neurauter. Government representative of Latvia before European Court of Human Rights Kristīne Līce gave a presentation on the cases against Latvia at the European Court of Human Rights, based on Art 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights. Guro Glærum Kleppe, the Deputy Director of the Norwegian Bureau for the Investigation of Police Affairs shared with Norwegian experience on effective investigation into the cases of alleged ill-treatment by police officers. The second part of the conference day continued with two working groups. A working group for prison administration and staff on healthcare in prisons - a key contributor to safe custody was led by Alan Mitchell, Medical Expert to the CPT and both Former Police Doctor and Head of Healthcare Department of the Scottish Prison Service. The second group for police on the prevention of police violence during demonstrations was led by Jan Swaan, Dutch National Police, Unit Amsterdam Police Commissioner, Chief of Operations, District South.
The first conference day was attended by 104 and the second day by 94 participants, including the representatives of the State Police (41), the Prison administration and prisons (37), prosecutor’s office (13), the Ombudsman’s Office (14), the Ministry of Justice (9), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (4), the Ministry of Interior (3), the Ministry of Welfare, the State President Chancellery, the Constitutional Court, the office of the Representative of the Cabinet of Ministers before the international human rights institutions, as well as lawyers and representatives of NGOs.
Conference funded by:
- Council of Europe. Celebrating 25 years of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture.
- European Commission (DG Justice funded project Nr. JUST/2011/JPEN/AG/2933 „European Prison Observatory. Detention Conditions in the European Union”);
- OSI Assistance Foundation (project „Promoting the ratification of the OPCAT in Latvia”);
- Silvia Casale’s presentation „Global Regional and National Independent Monitoring Mechanisms”
- Olga Zeile’s presentation „Impact of the CPT and other CoE mechanisms on the developments in the Latvian prison system (in Latvian)
- Ineta Piļāne’s presentation „Achievements, problems and prospects of the Office of the Ombudsman in monitoring places of detention” (in Latvian)
- Ivan Šelih’s presentation „The national Preventive Mechanism of – a case of cooperation with NGOs”
- Kristina Brazevič’s presentation „Lithuanian NPM model”
- Kristīne Līce’s presentation „Cases against Latvia at the European Court of Human Rights, based on Art 3 of European Convention of Human Rights” (in Latvian)
- Guro Glærum Kleppe presentation „Effective investigation into cases of alleged ill-treatment by police officers: Norwegian experience”
- Alan Mitchell’s presentation „The Prevention and Management of self-harm/attemped suicide and the recording of injuries and its role in the prevention of ill-treatement”
- Jan Swaan’s presentation „Experiences with preventing police violence within and against. Demonstrations in Amsterdam”
- Vincent Delbos presentation “The functionning of a NPM : experience from France”
- Conference programme