Tuesday, June 1, 2010

OSCE Office in Yerevan helps strengthen Ombudsman institution as National Preventive Mechanism

Representatives of Armenia's Human Rights Defender's Office concluded a three-day study visit to Slovenia organized by the OSCE Office in Yerevan to strengthen the institution's capacity to prevent torture and ill-treatment.

The Armenian experts met Slovenia's Deputy Ombudsman, Ivan Selih and colleagues, as well as representatives of non-governmental organizations, and visited a police station in Domzale and a prison in Ljubljana. They discussed the experiences of the Slovenian Human Rights Ombudsman as the country's designated National Preventive Mechanism (NPM).

According to the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture, and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, each State Party is responsible for developing a NPM to regularly monitor places where people are deprived of liberty, such as prisons, detention centres and psychiatric facilities, to ensure reasonable conditions and treatment. Armenia ratified the Optional Protocol in 2006.

"Our Office has supported Human Rights Defender's Office to advocate for more effective oversight of detention facilities. We believe that knowledge of the European experience in preventive strategies will enhance the role of the Ombudsman as an effective preventive mechanism," said Ambassador Sergey Kapinos, the Head of the OSCE Office in Yerevan.

"The Slovenian model for a National Preventive Mechanism is one of the most highly regarded by international experts, and learning about their experience will be useful in developing enhanced oversight of detention places in Armenia," said Arman Tatoyan, an Armenian NPM expert on the trip.

"We are happy to share our experience and practices with preventive visits and co-operation with non-governmental organizations," said Deputy Ombudsman Selih.

Source: OSCE. Published in Yerevan on 27 May 2010.

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