The policy paper provides an overview of closed institutions in Latvia and key trends in their reform since the country regained independence in 1991, highlights the role of international organisations (relevant UN, Council of Europe bodies, European Commission) in assessing Latvia’s compliance with international human rights standards in closed facilities and their conclusions and recommendations concerning the work of domestic inspection bodies.
The paper publishes estimated statistics on places of detention in Latvian, and the number of detainees held in the facilities at various times during the year. The paper pays special attention to a new international instrument providing for global inspection of closed facilities - the UN Optional Protocol to Convention against Torture, which came into force in mid-2006, in particular, the state party obligations in respect of national preventive mechanisms, criteria and safeguards for the effective functioning of independent monitoring bodies conducting visits to places of detention.
The paper assesses different aspects of work of several inspection bodies (NHRO, prosecutors’ office, etc.) in Latvia, highlights achievements and problems in monitoring of closed institutions. The paper offers recommendations to strengthen the independence and improve the effectiveness of different domestic inspection bodies in preventing ill-treatment in light of UN OPCAT, Paris Principles and CPT standards.
The policy paper has been published with funding received from the European Commission within the framework of the LCHR project “Monitoring Human Rights and Prevention of Torture in Closed Institutions: prisons, police cells and mental health institutions in Baltic Countries.”
Author: Anhelita Kamenska, Latvian Centre for Human Rights
Funding: European Commission