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Visits

Yesterday, the NPM visited the institution for the accommodation of adults and the elderly with mental and intellectual disabilities in Tešica, as part of the visits dedicated to assessing the reproductive rights of women in social welfare homes. During the visit, after checking the quality of the accommodation, the NPM team paid special attention to the reproductive and sexual freedoms and rights of the female beneficiaries of the institution. NPM representatives spoke with beneficiaries, employees about the fulfillment and respect of their rights, and were given access to the required documentation regarding the sexual and reproductive freedoms and rights in the institution.

The staff at the Tesica institution cooperated fully with the NPM, thus enabling this independent mechanism to fulfill its mandate. The findings and conclusions of this visit with recommendations, if there is a need for them, will be presented by the NPM in its unique report on the position of female beneficiaries in social welfare homes in the area of protection and promotion of their reproductive rights, after carrying out all planned visits by the end of the year.

The NPM team conducted an announced visit to the Department of Psychiatry of the General Hospital in Jagodina yesterday, which has a mental health dispensary at its disposal, a day hospital with a capacity of up to 45 patients and a psychiatric ward with 16 beds.

In addition to the representatives of the Protector of Citizens, the NPM team consisted of a psychiatrist specialist, a representative of the International Aid Network – IAN.

The NPM assessed the cooperation of employees as excellent, and during the visit, apart from checking the material conditions of accommodation, due attention was also paid to the admission procedure, treatment of agitated patients and other issues of importance for the prevention of torture.

Although the NPM will prepare a detailed report on the conditions in the health care facility and the treatment that patients have in terms of protecting and respecting their rights, even on the basis of the visit itself, the NPM was able to preliminarily evaluate the accommodation conditions and collegial relations among employees as very good, while the interviewed patients indicated that they were satisfied with the way doctors and medical staff treated them in their work.

By visiting the Home in Veternik in Novi Sad yesterday, the NPM team performed the first visit dedicated to the position and rights of women with disabilities in social welfare homes, primarily to the protection of their reproductive rights. The reproductive rights of women, beneficiaries and protégés of these institutions have so far always remained sidelined, which is why today we have almost no data or a clear assessment of the situation in this area.

The visit to the Home in Veternik is the first in a series of visits aimed at reviewing and improving the position of women in closed institutions through strengthening reproductive health protection measures and possibly preventing torture and other cruel or degrading punishment or treatment. Thematic visits will include monitoring the realization of the full spectrum of women's rights, from the right to intimacy, sexual violence to reproductive rights and consent to a medical measure.

By December 2019, the National Preventive Mechanism will visit five social welfare institutions, after which a unique report will be produced on the status of female beneficiaries in domestic social welfare homes in the field of protection and promotion of their reproductive rights. Thematic visits will be implemented in cooperation with representatives of the Initiative for the Rights of Persons with Mental Disabilities (MDRI – S) and with the participation of medical professionals.

On Friday, September 27, 2019, a member of the NPM team supervised the process of forced expulsion of a Chinese national from the Republic of Serbia. The Chinese national had previously stayed at the shelter for foreigners for 13 days, and the NPM monitored the procedure of his departure from the shelter for foreigners to the plane which he boarded. The forced expulsion procedure was performed in order and the Chinese citizen had no objection to police work either during his stay at the shelter for foreigners or during his expulsion.

The National Preventive Mechanism will draw up a Report on the conducted procedure.

On September 19 and 20 this year, the NPM team made seven visits to places where prisoners deprived of their liberty are or may be located. All visits were unannounced and cooperation with police was exceptional. In addition to NPM employees, the visit was also attended by a forensic specialist, representative of the International Aid Network IAN.

In order to examine the treatment of citizens by the police, the headquarters of the Vranje Police Department and the District Prison in Vranje were visited on September 19, where interviews were held with detainees brought to the implementation of the measure after being detained by the police. A forensic specialist examined the relevant medical documentation made upon admission to the institution, and particular attention was paid to the adequacy of medical examinations when admitting persons to the institution and the manner of documenting possible injuries.

During the night, a visit was made to the Police Station in Surdulica, where no detainees were found. The next day, while visiting the headquarters of the Leskovac Police Department, an interview with a detained person was conducted, with an overview of the relevant documentation.

At the same time, the second NPM team made three visits to military facilities – barracks in Bujanovac, Vranje and Leskovac, which contain premises for the execution of the disciplinary measure “Prohibition of departure from special premises in a military facility for up to 15 Days”. The NPM team was given the opportunity to visit special premises intended for the execution of the mentioned measure, and members of the Serbian Armed Forces provided all the requested data and information regarding the manner of its execution. The cooperation of the members of the Serbian Armed Forces with the NPM team members was professional and complete.