Prevention of Torture

Project „Monitoring Human Rights and Prevention of Torture in Closed Institutions: Prisons, Police Cells and Mental Health Care Institutions in Baltic Countries” implemented from 23 April 2003 to 23 July 2006 in partnership with the Centre for Public Policy PROVIDUS, Geneva Initiative on Psychiatry (the Netherlands) regional office in Lithuania, and the Mental Disability Advocacy Centre in Hungary.

 The project was funded by the European Commission, EuropeAid Co-operation Office – European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights.

The overall long-term objective of the project was aimed at the prevention of torture and protection of the human rights of persons detained in “closed institutions” – prisons, police short-term detention cells in Latvia, and mental hospitals and social care homes for mentally disabled in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Kaliningrad Region (Russian Federation). The project aimed to promote compliance with international human rights standards governing conditions in prisons, police stations and mental health institutions in order to prevent torture through:

1. providing legal assistance to victims of human rights violations in closed institutions;

2. conducting on-site visits to prisons and police cells in Latvia, and mental hospitals, social health care homes for mentally disabled persons in all three Baltic Countries and Kaliningrad Region (Russian Federation) to gather information on conditions and human rights violations and distribute human rights information;

3. disseminating information about human rights in closed institutions;

4. publishing and distributing a report on conditions in closed institutions in Latvia and joint policy paper on mental health care institutions in Latvia, 5. Estonia, Lithuania and Kaliningrad Region;

6. providing training on human rights to staff of  institutions, as well lawyers;

7. establishing an independent government-funded inspectorate system (Board of Visitors) responsible for regular monitoring of closed institutions in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

The target groups of the project are:

1. prison inmates, detainees in police cells, mental health care system users,

2. staff of institutions,

3. lawyers, judges, government officials, human rights NGOs,

4. general public and media.

Activities, carried out in the framework of the project:

1. throughout project period there have been 158 monitoring visits to closed institutions – prisons, police short-term detention cells in Latvia, and mental hospitals and social care homes for mentally disabled in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Kaliningrad Region;

2. 23 persons trained for conducting monitoring visits;

3. 24 seminars held (Latvia – 16 seminars, Lithuania – 4 seminars, Estonia – 2 seminars, Kaliningrad – 2 seminars) for staff of institutions, lawyers, representatives of the human rights NGOs and mass media;

4. 541 legal consultations have been provided on questions related to police, prisons, illegal migrant detention facilities and mental health facilities;

nearly 300 calls and written complaints were received during the four-day anonymous hotline on police brutality and misconduct;

5. 11 publications (among them eight policy papers and several brochures and leaflets) were drafted.

Related publications:
Monitoring Report on Closed Institutions in Latvia
Independent Detention Monitoring in Latvia
Human Rights in Mental Health Care in the Baltic Countries
Info leaflet “Information for Immigration Detainees
Needs Assessment of the Users of Mental Health Services
Recommendations for the Improvement of Prison Employment in Latvia (in Latvian only)
Publications of CPT Standards (in Latvian only)
Condition Release from Imprisonment (in Latvian only)
Handbook on Monitoring Closed institutions (in Latvian only)
Info leaflet “Information for Patients Detained in Mental Health Institutions” (in Latvian and Russian only)
Brochure for Prisoners on Complaints (in Latvian and Russian only)

Related seminars and conferences:
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" 
Training Seminar “Suicide Prevention in Prisons”: summary

Publicēts: 2007-01-03