Sunday, 27 May 2018

TORTURE PREVENTION

Preventing Torture through Istanbul Protocol

The Istanbul Protocol

The Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, in popular terms “the Istanbul Protocol”, contains internationally recognised standards and procedures on how to recognise and document symptoms of torture so the documentation may serve as valid evidence in court.

As such, the Istanbul Protocol provides useful guidance for doctors and lawyers who want to investigate whether or not a person has been tortured and report the findings to the judiciary and any other investigative bodies.

The Istanbul Protocol is a non-binding document. However, international law obliges governments to investigate and document incidents of torture and other forms of ill-treatment and to punish those responsible in a comprehensive, effective, prompt and impartial manner. The Istanbul Protocol is a tool for doing this.

Background

The Istanbul Protocol was drafted by more than 75 experts in law, health and human rights during three years of collective effort involving more than 40 different organisations including the IRCT. The extensive work was initiated and coordinated by the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT) and the Physicians for Human Rights USA (PHR USA).

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National Campain on Torture eradication and OPCAT implementation

Opening places of detention to external control mechanisms, as the Optional Protocol does, is one of the most effective means to prevent abusive practices and to improve conditions of detention.

 Based on the purpose of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (hereinafter OPCAT) to establish a system of regular visits undertaken by independent bodies to places of detention, ARCT maintained collaboration and support to the newly established Albanian NPM, enhancing its capacities and impact in the moment where the People’s Advocate was absent due to political instabilities in electing the new People’s Advocate (from early 2010 – until December 2011), through:

 oInstitutionalizing the partnership through written agreements 

  1. oProviding professional mental health support/ expertise during the regular and unannounced monitoring visits (ARCT multidisciplinary team of experts: general practitioners, psychiatrists, psychologist, social workers, lawyers and human rights experts were part of joint monitoring visits).
  2. oSupporting the Albanian NPM in producing and publishing its Activity Report since its establishment (special number of the ARCT Journal, published in Albanian and English was dedicated to the issue of Albanian NPM performance and achievements)[1]. The NPM activity report was presented to the member of the SPT.
  3. oPromoting a unified methodology in performing monitoring visits, including

    Read more ...



International Day in Support of Victims of Torture – 26 June

International Day in Support of Victims of Torture- 26 JUNE

The United Nations’ (UN) International Day in Support of Victims of Torture is annually observed on June 26 to remind people that human torture is not only unacceptable – it is also a crime.

The UN's International Day in Support of Victims of Torture serves as a reminder to people that human torture is a crime.

Rehabilitation centers and human rights organizations around the world celebrate the UN’s International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on June 26 each year. The day serves as a reminder to people that torture is a crime. This event gives everyone a chance to unite and voice their opinions against human torture.

Civil Society Organizations have played an active role in organizing events around the world to promote the day. Activities may include: photo exhibitions; the distribution of posters and other material to boost people’s awareness of issues related to human torture; and television advertisements.

ARCT is the first organization in Albania launching the National Campaign “Albania without TORTURE” (2007).

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Pre-detention Centre, Vlora

 


ARCT: Preventing torture and ill treatment in the Western Balkan countries

Supported by the EIDHR Global Call on Torture Prevention with the participation of Albania, Montenegro and Serbia

 ACCESS TO JUSTICE/ CONSOLIDATED SAFEGUARDS FOR THE RESPECT OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN PLACES OF DETENTION

Provision of legal assistance and services in the field of human rights to vulnerable detainees in prisons and respective families

Being consistent in providing access to justice for victims of violence and inhuman treatment, ARCT has offered assistance to persons in detention, specifically to reach out to the most vulnerable categories: chronically ill inmates, youngest offenders in prisons, and, overwhelmingly poor. People living in poverty and social exclusion come into contact with criminal and administrative controls and sanctions more than anyther group in society.

Some of the obstacles faced by poor prisoners, such as the cost of legal advice, administrative fees and other collateral costs, relate directly to their lack of financial resources. Other obstacles, however including lack of access to information and lack of legal recognition are harder to identify and arise out of discrimination against the most poorest and most marginalized.

When encountering the criminal justice system, people living in poverty are deprived of the means to challenge the conditions of their arrest, remand, trial, conviction, detention and release. In civil and administrative matters where legal aid is not available, persons living in poverty are often denied access to justice in matters involving property, welfare payments, and family matters such as child custody.

All these indicators are identified by scrupulous documentation of the findings from each monitoring visits, and accompanied by cases/ interviews which are identified during the screening process. Furthermore, based on the Albania’s UPR recommendations, the Albania’s progress report on the process of EU integration, and current Analytical Document on the Strategic priorities for the Justice system Reforms, the organization has been able to present data and argument decisions in various cases represented in the court.

Numerous violations and complaints were registered during 2015; the June 2015 local elections reflected a chaotic situation where extremely overpopulated prison facilities could not provide the right to vote too many inmates. Also, due to extreme high temperatures during the summer time, and the lack of medical supplies and medicaments, the situation of the chronically ill, and those suffering from mental disabilities was quite disturbing for the authorities. Parallel to these concerns, many complaints were raised through phone calls, letters and individual meetings with many inmates.

In parallel with the domestic mechanism to seek justice, ARCT has maintained the correspondence with the ECHR with regards to two cases: Pihoni v.Albania (submitted in November and accepted through official letter in late December 2013); and Tërshana v.Albania (of which we have not yet received confirmation). Both cases are based on the violations of the Articles 2 and 3 of the European Convention for Human Rights.

ARCT expertise and knowledge for systematic, periodic and watchdog mission was evaluated by the Steering Committee, established to monitor the project implementation (EUD, OSCE, Diplomatic Corp in Albania and other HR personalities are members of the mentioned above Steering Committee). ARCT membership accreditation in the International Consortium round tables on prison detention, justice reforms and anti- corruption was an important activity in coordinating with other international bodies and donors and share relevant information of various activities.

During 2015, ARCT was invited in the process of the preparation of the commentaries and policy papers with regards to the Judiciary System Analytical Documents (a policy document which has provided recommendations with regards to the required Judiciary reforms in Albania). ARCT provided comments to the Law on the Treatment of the Detainees, the Law on the State Police, the Law on the Organization of the Ombudsperson, etc.

Being part of IRCT Global Alliance on fight against torture, member of OMCT, providing rehabilitation services for old and new victims of torture in Albania (medical services, social, psychological and legal assistance) remained a continuous priority for ARCT. A special emphasis was paid in assisting 6 former Guantanamo prisoners settled in Albania with social, and psychological, legal support.

(latest update: February 2016)


Opening places of detention to external control mechanisms, as the Optional Protocol does, is one of the most effective means to prevent abusive practices and to improve conditions of detention.

 Based on the purpose of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (hereinafter OPCAT) to establish a system of regular visits undertaken by independent bodies to places of detention, ARCT maintained collaboration and support to the newly established Albanian NPM, enhancing its capacities and impact in the moment where the People’s Advocate was absent due to political instabilities in electing the new People’s Advocate (from early 2010 – until December 2011), through:

 oInstitutionalizing the partnership through written agreements 

  1. oProviding professional mental health support/ expertise during the regular and unannounced monitoring visits (ARCT multidisciplinary team of experts: general practitioners, psychiatrists, psychologist, social workers, lawyers and human rights experts were part of joint monitoring visits).
  2. oSupporting the Albanian NPM in producing and publishing its Activity Report since its establishment (special number of the ARCT Journal, published in Albanian and English was dedicated to the issue of Albanian NPM performance and achievements)[1]. The NPM activity report was presented to the member of the SPT.
  3. oPromoting a unified methodology in performing monitoring visits, including

    Read more ...



ARCT: Preventing torture and ill treatment in the Western Balkan countries

Supported by the EIDHR Global Call on Torture Prevention with the participation of Albania, Montenegro and Serbia

 ACCESS TO JUSTICE/ CONSOLIDATED SAFEGUARDS FOR THE RESPECT OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN PLACES OF DETENTION

Provision of legal assistance and services in the field of human rights to vulnerable detainees in prisons and respective families

Being consistent in providing access to justice for victims of violence and inhuman treatment, ARCT has offered assistance to persons in detention, specifically to reach out to the most vulnerable categories: chronically ill inmates, youngest offenders in prisons, and, overwhelmingly poor. People living in poverty and social exclusion come into contact with criminal and administrative controls and sanctions more than anyther group in society.

Some of the obstacles faced by poor prisoners, such as the cost of legal advice, administrative fees and other collateral costs, relate directly to their lack of financial resources. Other obstacles, however including lack of access to information and lack of legal recognition are harder to identify and arise out of discrimination against the most poorest and most marginalized.

When encountering the criminal justice system, people living in poverty are deprived of the means to challenge the conditions of their arrest, remand, trial, conviction, detention and release. In civil and administrative matters where legal aid is not available, persons living in poverty are often denied access to justice in matters involving property, welfare payments, and family matters such as child custody.

All these indicators are identified by scrupulous documentation of the findings from each monitoring visits, and accompanied by cases/ interviews which are identified during the screening process. Furthermore, based on the Albania’s UPR recommendations, the Albania’s progress report on the process of EU integration, and current Analytical Document on the Strategic priorities for the Justice system Reforms, the organization has been able to present data and argument decisions in various cases represented in the court.

Numerous violations and complaints were registered during 2015; the June 2015 local elections reflected a chaotic situation where extremely overpopulated prison facilities could not provide the right to vote too many inmates. Also, due to extreme high temperatures during the summer time, and the lack of medical supplies and medicaments, the situation of the chronically ill, and those suffering from mental disabilities was quite disturbing for the authorities. Parallel to these concerns, many complaints were raised through phone calls, letters and individual meetings with many inmates.

In parallel with the domestic mechanism to seek justice, ARCT has maintained the correspondence with the ECHR with regards to two cases: Pihoni v.Albania (submitted in November and accepted through official letter in late December 2013); and Tërshana v.Albania (of which we have not yet received confirmation). Both cases are based on the violations of the Articles 2 and 3 of the European Convention for Human Rights.

ARCT expertise and knowledge for systematic, periodic and watchdog mission was evaluated by the Steering Committee, established to monitor the project implementation (EUD, OSCE, Diplomatic Corp in Albania and other HR personalities are members of the mentioned above Steering Committee). ARCT membership accreditation in the International Consortium round tables on prison detention, justice reforms and anti- corruption was an important activity in coordinating with other international bodies and donors and share relevant information of various activities.

During 2015, ARCT was invited in the process of the preparation of the commentaries and policy papers with regards to the Judiciary System Analytical Documents (a policy document which has provided recommendations with regards to the required Judiciary reforms in Albania). ARCT provided comments to the Law on the Treatment of the Detainees, the Law on the State Police, the Law on the Organization of the Ombudsperson, etc.

Being part of IRCT Global Alliance on fight against torture, member of OMCT, providing rehabilitation services for old and new victims of torture in Albania (medical services, social, psychological and legal assistance) remained a continuous priority for ARCT. A special emphasis was paid in assisting 6 former Guantanamo prisoners settled in Albania with social, and psychological, legal support.

(latest update: February 2016)