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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.

Statement on the occasion of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

On the occasion of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights (BIM) highlights the need to increase efforts to effectively implement standards preventing torture and other forms of ill-treatment worldwide. Giuliana Monina adresses current issues in her statement.

Monitoring Prison Violence: A series of 3 online expert meetings, Part 3

Monitoring Prison Violence: A series of 3 online expert meetings, Part 3

Preventing and responding to all forms of intimidation and violence in places of detention is primarily a State responsibility. The safety of prisoners, staff, service providers and visitors must be ensured at all times. For instance, if prison staff fail to act with due diligence to prevent violence between prisoners, this may result in torture or ill-treatment. However, most forms of violence (self-directed, against other prisoners, against prison staff and vice versa) occur regularly in prisons across the EU.

Details
Location: 
online

Monitoring Prison Violence: A series of 3 online expert meetings, Part 2

Monitoring Prison Violence: A series of 3 online expert meetings, Part 2

Preventing and responding to all forms of intimidation and violence in places of detention is primarily a State responsibility. The safety of prisoners, staff, service providers and visitors must be ensured at all times. For instance, if prison staff fail to act with due diligence to prevent violence between prisoners, this may result in torture or ill-treatment.
However, most forms of violence (self-directed, against other prisoners, against prison staff and vice versa) occur regularly in prisons across the EU.

Details
Location: 
online

EAW-ALT: Addressing the overuse of pre-trial detention and the disproportionate use of EAW with alternative cross-border mechanisms

Pre-trial detention is intended to be used as a measure of last resort, however the European Union (‘EU’) is facing a long-standing crisis of prison overcrowding which undermines mutual trust and the functioning and legality of mutual recognition instruments like the European Arrest Warrant (‘EAW’). The project aims to address issues related to detention pre- and post-trial, in particular raising awareness about the availability of alternatives.

Expert meeting: NPM Standards – Preventing violence in prisons

As part of the NPM Standards Project, an expert meeting on the prevention of violence in prisons was planned, in cooperation with the Austrian Ombudsman Board, from 6 to 7 May in Vienna. Due to the COVID-19 crisis and measures, the event had to be cancelled. It will now take place online.

Members from National Preventive Mechanisms of European Member States, researchers and practitioners will discuss how international prison standards in relation to violence reduction can be monitored and implemented better.

Details
Location: 
Wien

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