Yesterday, on World Suicide Prevention Day, the NPM team visited the Clinical Center of Vojvodina. The visit was regular, announced, as per the 2019 Visit Plan. The NPM team, in addition to the representatives of the Protector of Citizens, consisted of representatives of the provincial Protector of Citizens, as well as a physician – specialist in psychiatry and a representative of the International Aid Network (IAN).

The cooperation of the management and employees at the Clinic with the NPM team was complete and constructive. In addition to the material conditions of hospitalization, admission procedures, treatment of agitated patients and other issues of importance for the prevention of torture, special attention was paid to the situation of minors and the way psychiatric health care is offered to this particularly vulnerable social group.

The NPM will produce a report with recommendations on the visit to the Psychiatric Clinic, the implementation of which would contribute to the improvement of the situation of psychiatric patients and the compliance with standards in this field.

The National Preventive Mechanism monitored the procedure of forced expulsion of a Northern Macedonia national from the Republic of Serbia yesterday.

The citizen of Northern Macedonia, who had been staying at the shelter for foreigners in Padinska Skela for a while, was first escorted to the Embassy of Northern Macedonia by official vehicle to be provided with the necessary documentation, and then to the Presevo border crossing, where he was handed over to North Macedonian police officers. The National Preventive Mechanism, which oversaw the entire forced expulsion procedure, will draw up a Report on the procedure conducted and, if necessary, make appropriate recommendations to the competent authorities.

After the control visit to the Penal - Correctional Institution in Nis in May, when the Protector of Citizens, Zoran Pasalic, while checking compliance with the previously made recommendations, in addition to the employees in the institution also talked to the persons deprived of their liberty, a large number of them subsequently complained to the institution, complaining, among other things, about inadequate prison conditions, insufficient number of medical staff and insufficient health care.

Guided by a large number of complaints of persons deprived of their liberty addressed at the institution, the Protector of Citizens, Zoran Pasalic, together with the representatives of the Department for urgent action, made an unannounced visit today to the Penal - Correctional Institution in Nis and the detention unit in Pirot. On that occasion, he conducted several direct conversations with persons deprived of their liberty, which was a way to become more familiar with the cases of complaints and to look at the on-site possibilities for overcoming them, but also to solve the identified problems and omissions in the work of the institution.

By visiting the “Major Milan Tepić” barracks in Jakovo, the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture started the practice of visiting barracks in which a disciplinary sanction is imposed banning the abandonment of special premises in a military facility.

Seeing how special premises for disciplinary sanctions are places where the persons deprived of their liberty are or may be, in this case the members of the Army, the NPM also introduces visits to barracks in its regular activities in order to strengthen the protection, if necessary, against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of such persons and the protection of their position. The NPM derives such mandate and authority from domestic and international regulations, which provide, among other things, that the Protector of Citizens, together with the National Assembly and other state bodies, also exercises civilian control of the military.

The first visit was realized with a positive response from the Ministry of Defense and the establishment of the necessary cooperation between the institution and the state body. The NPM team members received the requested information during the visit, the barracks commander and other members of the Serbian Armed Forces answered all questions from the NPM team and allowed them to visit special premises where disciplinary sanctions preventing the abandonment of the facility are being enforced, as well as access to records.

The visit to the Jakovo barracks is the first of 15 planned visits to the barracks with special premises for the execution of disciplinary sanctions, which will be implemented by the NPM by the end of the year and after that a summary, comprehensive report will be made on the position of persons who have been imposed disciplinary sanctions and the conditions found in the premises where that sanction is enforced.

The NPM team visited yesterday two health care institutions in Niš. The visit was paid to the Psychiatric Clinic of the Clinical Center Niš after it was announced and in accordance with the plan of visits for 2019, while the visit to the Center for Mental Health at the Clinical Center Niš was visited by NPM members without previous announcement.

Apart from the representatives of the Protector of Citizens, the NPM team included the doctor specialist of psychiatry, representative of the association International Assistance Network (IAN).

Both these institutions were visited by the NPM for the first time with the aim of observing the position of patients, exercise and promotion of their rights and special attention was paid to the conditions in which they are accommodated, the reception procedure, and the treatment of agitated patients. The heads and employees of both institutions cooperated with the NPM team and enabled them to implement the visit in compliance with entrusted competences and mandate. The NPM shall execute reports and issue necessary recommendations to competent persons on completed visits.