Current Size: 100%

Human Dignity and Public Security

Providing research-based support in order to fight torture and ill-treatment globally

Freedom from torture is universally recognised as an absolute and non-derogable right and international human rights treaties and standards contain numerous preventive obligations. Nevertheless, torture remains a problem in the majority of States worldwide, often even on a widespread or systematic scale. States fail to implement their obligations due to a lack of political will or adequate capacities, or to a lack of efficient preventive measures. International and national oversight mechanisms do not achieve to effectively follow up their recommendations to provide the necessary support to or exert pressure on the responsible authorities.

The Human Dignity and Public Security team at the BIM is specialised in the prevention of torture and ill-treatment and the protection of human rights in the criminal justice system. The team was established in 2004 to support Manfred Nowak’s mandate as UN Special Rapporteur on Torture (2004-2010), investigating the situation of torture and ill-treatment worldwide. Observing the lack of follow-up and implementation of recommendations for the prevention of torture, the team has since then carried out extensive research on the effectiveness of torture prevention measures, focusing particularly on the following questions:

  • What measures and mechanisms are effective in the prevention of torture and ill-treatment and the protection of detainees’ rights?
  • How can existing legal and institutional frameworks be strengthened to more effectively prevent torture and protect human rights, especially the rights of detainees?
  • How can monitoring and oversight mechanisms ensure the implementation of national and international human rights obligations?

The Institute is guided by the idea of ‘translational research’, committed to transform its research results into direct impact on the ground, meaning contributing to a concrete improvement of human rights in societies. In this spirit, the team aims at using its expertise and the experience in investigating, monitoring and reporting human rights violations to provide evidence-based and targeted advice as well as support to torture prevention actors. In the past, the team has supported State actors, notably National Human Rights Institutions (NHRI), as well as civil society actors in inter alia Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, FYROM, Moldova, Pakistan, Paraguay, Romania, Togo, Turkey, Uruguay and is currently engaged in Kyrgyzstan, Morocco and across Europe. Thereby, the team has not only gathered broad substantive but also methodological experiences on organisational development and how to conduct effective consulting and training.

Rule of Law in Kyrgyzstan – Austrian experts Roland Miklau and Nina Radović at Round Table on Torture Prevention

Round table panelists

On 23 June 2017, the Human Rights Advisory Board in Kyrgyzstan in cooperation with the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights organised a round table on “Common Efforts of State Bodies and Civil Society for Torture Prevention”, which took place in Osh, Kyrgyzstan. As part of the EU Project “Promotion of Rule of Law in Kyrgyzstan”, the round table aimed at discussing obstacles related to the prevention of torture and at considering the role of state bodies and civil society actors in their efforts to respond to torture allegations not only individually, but also in a coordinated way.

Kyrgyz President Atambajew honours BIM project

Team leader Stefanos Kareklas and President Almasbek Atambajew

The Kyrgyz President Almasbek Atambajew honored the project consortium represented by team leader Stefanos Kareklas for the successes in the implementation of the EU project Promotion of the respect of Rule of Law with particular emphasis on Transparency and Accountability in Kyrgyzstan. With the support of the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, the BIM on behalf of Austria is part of a consortium of EU Member States led by the German Association for International Cooperation (GIZ). Since 2014 the BIM has been working on strengthening the capacities and efficiency of control and supervisory functions of relevant governmental institutions such as the Public Prosecutor's Office, Parliament, the Ministry of Justice and the Ombudsman.

Day of the right

Copyright: HBF, Daniel Trippolt

Under the title "Justice and justice in a system of injustice - the scope and limits of legal action", this year's day of the right was held in Vienna on 11 May 2017. Host was minister of justice Wolfgang Brandstetter.

Dr. Hannes Tretter took part in the panel discussion "The Staging of the Crisis" for the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Human Rights.

Justizpalast, Schmerlingplatz 11, 1010 Wien

CCPCJ: Exploring the potential of cross-border cooperation in criminal matters: From non-custodial provisions to monitoring mechanisms.


On the 24th May at 14.20, as part of the side events to the 26th Session of the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ), the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, in conjunction with the European External Actions Service, the Permanent Mission of Ireland to the International Organisations in Vienna, and the Permanent Mission of Austria to the United Nations have organised an event entitled: Exploring the potential of cross-border cooperation in criminal matters: From non-custodial provisions to monitoring mechanisms.

VIC, Room M6 / Vienna

Academy of European Law: Improving Detention Conditions at EU level

On 1 June 2017, Gerrit Zach will present the “Findings from the ERA-BIM Study on the future of mutual trust and the prevention of ill-treatment: how to improve judicial cooperation and the engagement of national preventive mechanisms” at the seminar organised by the Academy of European Law (ERA) on "Improving Detention Conditions at EU level" in Trier/Germany.

Trier / Germany

BIM is joining the LEAP-network

Fair Trials

The Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Human Rights has recently become a member of the LEAP (Legal Experts Advisory Panel) Network. “LEAP is an EU-wide network of experts in criminal justice and human rights which works to promote fair and effective judicial cooperation within Europe” and is coordinated by Fair Trials.

Launching Conference of the EU NPM Network in Strasbourg

Presentation of possible thematic areas for the network: Gerrit Zach (BIM), Stephanie Krisper (BIM), Jesca Beneder (DG Justice, European Commission), Markus Jaeger (Council of Europe), Copyrights (c) Council of Europe

National Preventive Mechanisms (NPMs) from the EU and Council of Europe Member States met in Strasbourg on 4-5 April 2017 for the launching conference of the EU NPM network, a joint project between the European Union and the Council of Europe. Representatives of the SPT, the CPT, the EU Fundamental Rights Agency, OSCE/ODIHR and the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions were also present.