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Human Dignity and Public Security

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 LBI of Fundamental and Human Rights 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.

Second Online Workshop NPM Network: ‘Strengthening the prevention of torture in South-East Europe’

On December 7th, the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Fundamental and Human Rights is participating in a second online workshop of the South-East European NPM Network on ‘Strengthening the prevention of torture in South-East Europe: Monitoring safeguards in the first hours of police custody’. The event is hosted once more by the Croatian Ombudsman, in cooperation with the Boltzmann Institute for Fundamental and Human Rights and the Association for the Prevention of Torture and with the support of the Council of Europe European NPM Forum.


From law to practice: Strengthening procedural rights in police custody (ProRPC)

The EU legal instruments in the area of procedural rights in criminal proceedings are an important source of minimum standards for protection against arbitrary detention, ill-treatment and other human rights violations throughout the EU. The project contributes to an effective and human rights-compliant application of EU procedural directives and thus to strengthening mutual trust in the legal systems of the Member States. The results of the project will help to develop initiatives to strengthen the practical implementation of the directives.

Conference on 'Prison Monitoring Methodologies for National Preventive Mechanisms', 3-4 November 2020

Konferenz zu 'Prison Monitoring Methodologies for National Preventive Mechanisms' (Methoden zur Überwachung von Gefängnissen für nationale Präventionsmechanismen)

The Hungarian Helsinki Committee in cooperation with the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Fundamental and Human Rights, Associazione Antigone and the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee has been hosting a virtual Conference on ‘Prison Monitoring Methodologies for National Preventive Mechanisms’ for EU NPMs, prison experts and researchers. The event is part of the EU Project ‘Working towards harmonized detention standards in the EU – the role of NPMs’.

Deprivation of liberty of children revisited - kick-off meeting and child participation seminar

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On 5 November 2020, as part of the Global Campus/RPLF BIM project, the internal kick-off meeting and seminar on child participation in the research process will take place. The meeting will take place online and bring together international and national child rights experts.


Personal liberty of children in Austria revisited: Achieving impact through comprehensive national follow-up to the UN Global Study on Children deprived of Liberty

In 2019, the first UN Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty was published. The Study examined the compliance of states with international child rights standards on personal liberty of children and alternatives to its deprivation. It particularly focused on the extent to which consideration has been given to alternative measures to deprivation of liberty prior to the placement of a child in any custodial setting. (read the UN Global Study online)