As long as one person deprived of liberty is the victim of abuse in Serbia, the country must continue to work on the prevention of torture in prisons and social welfare institutions, said the Deputy Ombudsman for the rights of persons deprived of their liberty and coordinator of the NPM Milos Jankovic in the Media center. He said that the team of the NPM last year was in several unannounced visits to prisons in Serbia, where they entered the prison areas that are under the special regime of security and talked with about 200 prisoners and none of them said that he was beaten. We cannot say that torture does not exist in Serbia, but it is encouraging that out of 200 interviewed said that no one was beaten. If we compare with previous data, when the convicts and detainees complained that they were beaten, this is a major shift, said Jankovic.
On today's celebration of ten years from the entry into force of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) he said that this protocol provides for the establishment of a system of regular visits of independent international and national bodies to places where persons are deprived of their liberty.
The deputy stressed that the cooperation of the Ombudsman with non-government sector, external partners and experts is exceptionally good. With state authorities is also have good cooperation, but in some cases is completely absent. As he said, the most vulnerable are people with disabilities who are placed in social welfare institutions dislocated and excommunicated from the natural environment, where they can easily be subjected to torture.
UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Representative in Serbia Irena Vojackova Solorano pointed out that the preventive approach is very important for people who are threatened and deprived of liberty. It is significant that such a mechanism cooperating with civil society, independent bodies and experts, representatives of people with disabilities and all other stakeholders involved in this system, said Solorano.
At the conference, about their experience in working with persons deprived of their liberty and in prevention of torture also spoken prof. Dr Djordje Alempijević expert NPM Serbia, Milan Antonijevic, director of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, a member of the NPM Serbia, and Aleksandra Stepanović from the Directorate for Execution of Criminal Sanctions.