Read more ...We dedicate this Conference to the methodology of the visit to the places of detention. We thought that after almost five years of existence of the Network, it is necessary to make a certain summary, to underline and to see the results of previous work. Our intention is to interxchange experiences and best practices of the control mechanisms in the conduct of visits to institutions where persons are deprived of liberty, said Protector of citizens Zoran Pašalić, opening a meeting of the Southeast Europe NPM Network with the topic "Methodology of visit to places of detention".

Miloš Janković, deputy protector of citizens for the rights of persons deprived of their liberty and the chair of the Network, pointed out that there is a need to analyze in depth and address issues related to the planning of visits, such as the their types, composition of teams, visit principles, as well as guidelines and questionnaires for visits. He pointed out that since the year 2012, the National Preventive Mechanism of the Republic of Serbia has visited about 500 institutions in which persons are deprived of liberty and made about 350 visit reports, in which nearly 2000 recommendations were sent to the competent authorities for remedying the observed shortcomings and improvement of the status of the persons deprived of their liberty.

The National Preventive Mechanism met with prof. Nils Melzer, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, as part of the visit of the Special Rapporteur to the Republic of Serbia, which was held from 13. to 24. November 2017. The topics of the meeting were the state's achievements in the prevention of torture, the current situation in places where persons are deprived of their liberty and their treatment. The most important activities of the NPM in the past period were also presented to prof. Melzer.

The representatives of the NPM participated in the final meeting, which was held at the end of the visit of the Special Rapporteur to Serbia, where prof. Melzer informed representatives of state authorities about the preliminary results of his visit and the process of compiling the report.


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A forum at The Center for Cultural Decontamination marked the October 10th, the World Day Against the Death Penalty and the World Mental Health Day, where Miloš Janković, Deputy Protector of Citizens for the Protection of Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty and Head of the National Preventive Mechanism, spoked.

"Serbia belongs to a group of european and world states, which, due to the basic and universal right to life and human dignity, have abolished the death penalty and took the view that these rights can not be denied even to the perpetrators of the most violent crimes. The Protector of citizens is convinced that the death penalty will never be reinstated and that the Republic of Serbia will never again kill any human being", said Miloš Janković.

He reminded that today around 140 countries in the world do not have death penalty, while in about 50 of them it continues to exists in their legal systems, and in these countries several thousands of people per year are being hunged, shot or otherwise executed. The death penalty in Serbia was last carried out on February 14, 1992 and was finally abolished in 2002, Janković reminded.

October 10th is also the World Mental Health Day, when states, psychiatrists, people with mental disorders, former psychiatric patients point to the importance of mental health for both the individual and society as a whole. On this day, Janković pointed out, the Protector of citizens once again warns on the necessity of the implementation of deinstitutionalisation and the development of the network of services for the protection, care and support of people with mental disabilities as soon as possible.

"The Protector of Citizens dedicates special attention to the protection of their rights, because people with mental disorders in our society are still particularly vulnerable and, unfortunately, largely stigmatized and marginalized. The difficult situation of people with mental disorders is also contributed by the fact that in Serbia there are no conditions for their life with the support of the local community", Janković concluded.

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.