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Events

Representative National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) from Protector of citizens and Provincial Ombudsman were participated in the training "Communication skills & techniques" during the NPM visit to institutions where persons deprived of their liberty are or may be found. Training was organized in Vienna by the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI) in cooperation with Austrian Ombudsman Board (AOB) from 25 to 27 September this year.

Training was intended for members of NPM and employees of Ombudsman Institutions who acting on individual complaints. The aim of the training was exchanging experiences between NPM of different countries during the monitoring visits and acquisition and improvement skills and techniques of communication in conversation with persons who are placed in institutions of detention, regarding to targeted and empathic ways of communication. The participants were given opportunity to familiarize themselves with the practical approach of interviewing vulnerable group of people who needing support, through simulated interviews between training participants and actors, as well as through live streams of representatives of NPM Austria during the monitoring visit.

The training was attended by representatives of 29 NPM countries from Europe and Africa, and besides them, active participation in the training was also taken by experts from the Austrian Ombudsman / NPM, as well as representatives of the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) and the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) who provided their expertise and contributed to this training.

A representative of the National Preventive Mechanism talked about the way in which the NPM uses the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (Nelson Mandela Rules) to participants in the side event "Torture and Nelson Mandela Rules", organized by the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and PRI (Penal reform international).

The side event was held within the HDIM (Human Dimension Implementation Meeting), which is considered to be the Europe’s largest annual human rights conference, organized by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). This year, the conference was held in Warsaw from 11 to 22 September 2017. and was attended by representatives of member states, as well as numerous international experts, representatives of non-governmental organizations and human rights activists.

Beside the NPM activities, on this side event prof. Mykola Gnatovskyy, President of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), presented the implementation of the Nelson Mandela Rules by the Committee and the relationship between Rules and standards established by this Committee. Also, PRI and ODIHR have presented guidance documents and other tools currently available to support states and prison authorities in the implementation of the Mandela Rules.

National Preventive Mechanism representative participated in the expert consultations of the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment on migration related torture. A series of meetings were attended by representatives of organizations, international, state and non-governmental, dealing with torture and migration issues, and were held in order to inform the Special Rapporteur on the facts and views of experts of relevance to his Report on this topic, which is expected to be completed later this year.

Consultations were held in Geneva, from 28. to 30 August. 2017, at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. In addition, the Special Rapporteur sent a public invitation to Member States, UN Agencies, civil society and academia to transmit submissions on this topic by September 30, 2017, using a questionnaire, which can be found on the website of the High Commissioner:

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Torture/SRTorture/Pages/MigrationRelatedTorture.aspx

The staff memeber of the National Preventive Mechanism Secretariat (NPM) attended the Summer School "Detention monitoring applying the UN Nelson Mandela Rules", which was organized from 13 - 18 August this year at the University of Bristol by the international nongovernmental organization Penal Reform International and Association for the Prevention of Torture, and also the Human Rights Implementation Centre, which was established within the University.

The school was dedicated to NPM members and employees and aimed to increase the capacity of participants to monitor the application of Nelson Mandela rules. The training was attended by representatives of the NPM of 20 countries from different parts of the world. The school provided the opportunity to meet and network with experts in the field and representatives from other NPMs.

The lecturers were eminent experts in the area of torture prevention, including university professors, former and current members of international bodies dealing with the prevention of torture, heads and members of the NPMs and representatives of the civil sector. During the program, the participants were trained on the key provisions of the Rules, in order to assess whether the terms of detention are in accordance with them.

Nelson Mandela rules are the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, which were revised by the General Assembly Resolution from 2015. and then named after the President of the Republic of South Africa, who spent 27 years in prison in the course of his struggle for global human rights, equality, democracy and the promotion of a culture of peace.

On the occasion of marking June 26, the International Day of the Support of Victims of Torture, the Protector of Citizens takes the opportunity to remind that the Constitution of Serbia and numerous international instruments guarantee the inviolability of the physical and psychological integrity of man, that no one should be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Any intentional infliction of pain or suffering to a person who is in any way detained, on the basis of a decision or consent of an official is prohibited in order to obtain information or recognition, or for intimidation or punishment.

The absence of the struggle against the impunity of torture in the Republic of Serbia, to which the Protector of Citizens often draws public attention, can in time lead to an increase in the number of physical abuse cases. In addition, on the basis of numerous visits, the Protector of Citizens assessed that in institutions where persons deprived of their liberty are placed, where there are continuously poor material conditions, which are overcrowded, with inappropriate treatment, poor health care and lack of social support, treatment which gets the character of the inhuman or degrading can occur.

In order to further improve the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty, as well as the prevention of torture, the Protector of Citizens reminds that it is necessary for the competent authorities to conduct effective procedures in cases of allegations of torture, as well as the need to develop a system of continuous human rights training for decision-makers and all officials who act directly with these persons.