International conference "Independent Detention Monitoring of Closed Institutions in the Baltic States"
On 27-28 April, 2006 the Latvian Centre for Human Rights and the Association for the Prevention of Torture are organising an international conference on independent detention monitoring of closed institutions (prisons, police cells, mental hospitals, etc.) in the Baltic States and the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on Torture. The conference is part of the European Commission funded project of the Latvian Centre for Human Rights and Ethnic Studies “Monitoring Human Rights and Prevention of Torture in Closed institutions: prisons, police cells and mental health care institutions in Baltic countries.”
The first day of the conference will focus on practical experiences and challenges faced by independent detention monitoring bodies (ombudsman institutions) in the Baltic States, as well as highlight examples of independent monitoring of prisons and police cells on national and regional (local) level in several other European Union Member States (United Kingdom, the Netherlands). The conference will also focus on the role of prosecutors in monitoring closed institutions and relevant standards developed by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture.
Conference participants will also be introduced to the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture and informed of the results of the global campaign to ratify the Protocol. The Optional Protocol envisages the establishment of a two level independent inspection system – an international Sub-Committee on Prevention, which will be mandated to carry out regular visits to closed institutions in the State Parties to the Convention, while the State Parties will be required to create and/or strengthen existing national preventive mechanisms to perform regular inspections of closed facilities.
The second day of the conference will focus on the possibilities and obstacles in ratifying OPCAT in the Baltic States. Thus far, of the three states, only Estonia has signed the instrument (September 2004) and it is hoped that the ratification process will be completed in the course of 2006.
There are around 100 closed facilities in Latvia and in 2005, around 45,000 persons were in short or long-term detention in these facilities.
Program of Conference
9:00-9:30 Registration of participants
9:30-9:45 Official opening: welcome by Anhelita Kamenska, the Latvian Centre for Human Rights (LCHR) and Matthew Pringle, Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT)
Prevention of torture and ill-treatment through monitoring places of detention: practical experience from existing visiting mechanisms in the Baltic states.
9:45-10:15 Launch of preliminary findings of LCHR report on independent monitoring bodies in Latvia, Anhelita Kamenska, LCHR
10:15-10:45 Visits of National Human Rights Office to closed institutions, Ineta Piļāne, National Human Rights Office (Latvia)
10:45-11:15 Visits of Chancellor of Justice to places of detention in Estonia, Allar Jõks, Chancellor of Justice of Estonia
11:15-11:45 Coffee break
11:45-12:15 Prevention of torture and ill treatment through monitoring places of detention: practical experience Seimas ombudsman Dalia Žukauskiene, Seimas Ombudsman Office (Lithuania)
Examples of good practice from other countries
12:15-12:45 Protecting the rights of people in detention: the role of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission Linda Moore, Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission
14:00-14:30 Amsterdam - Amstelland Police Cell Supervisory Committee, Pieter Stoffelen, former Chairman, Netherlands
14:30-15:00 Role of Prosecutors in Monitoring Places of Detention, Eric Svanidze, Council of Europe’s Human Rights Expert, Georgia
15:00-15:30 Questions and discussion
15:30-15:45 Coffee break
15:45-16:45 The added value of the OPCAT in the context of detention monitoring Matthew Pringle, Europe and Central Asia Programme Officer, Association for the Prevention of Torture
The OPCAT: an innovative instrument on the verge of operationality
The global campaign: actors, strategies and expected outcomes
Detailed national examples regarding implementation
Edouard Delaplace, UN & Legal Officer, Association for the Prevention of Torture
The CPT and the system OPCAT: similarities, differences and the potential for enhanced prevention work
16:45-17:15 Ratifying & Implementing OPCAT. The implementation of OPCAT in the UK and consultation with civil society John Kissane, Department for Constitutional Affairs, United Kingdom
17:15-18:00 Questions and a general discussion of the day’s presentations
National implementation of the OPCAT: examples from the Baltic States
9:00-9:30 ESTONIA – Ratifying OPCAT in 2006? (DOC, 37.50 KB) Mai Hion, Human Rights Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
9:30-10:00 Introducing the Association for the Prevention of Torture check-list on National Preventive Mechanisms, Matthew Pringle, Europe and Central Asia Programme Officer, Association for the Prevention of Torture
10:00-11:00 National group work: implementing OPCAT in practice
11:00-11:30 Coffee break
11:30-13:30 Group feedback
Representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Ombudsman’s Office and NGOs
Representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice, National Human Rights Office and LCHR
Discussion: future challenges
- Visits of Chancellor of Justice to places of detention in Estonia.doc
- Prevention of torture.doc
- Protecting the rights of people in detention.doc
- Role of Prosecutors in Monitoring Places of Detention.doc
- The added value of the OPCAT in the context of detention monitoring.doc
- Ratifying & Implementing OPCAT.doc
- ESTONIA – Ratifying OPCAT.doc