The Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Fundamental and Human Rights, together with three European project partners, the Associazione Antigone, the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, and the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, have addressed how NPMs can effectively improve detention conditions across the EU in the framework of the EU-funded Project ‘Improving judicial cooperation across the EU through harmonised detention standards – The role of National Preventive Mechanisms’(2019–2021).
Team Human Dignity and Public Security
Procedural safeguards – particularly during the first hours of custody – are key to ensure the right to a fair trial in criminal proceedings and to prevent torture. This Guidebook is focusing on how NHRIs can contribute to the strengthening of these rights.
It can be seen from the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights that violations of the rights of accused persons occur in all EU Member States. In addition, the EU has an interest in promoting trust between EU Member States in order to facilitate mutual recognition of judicial decisions. Common minimum standards can contribute to this.
The project is a response to the call of the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment and Punishment (UNSRT) to assist Kyrgyzstan with technical expertise in its fight against torture and ill-treatment, and requests made by Kyrgyz civil society organisations for more support from international torture prevention experts. The Government of Kyrgyzstan has in recent years reaffirmed its commitment to bring the justice and law enforcement systems up to international standards in respect of the provisions of the international human rights regime, and to eradicate torture in the country. Torture and ill-treatment remains, however, a widespread phenomenon in Kyrgyzstan, as also observed by the UNSRT Juan Méndez during his visits to the country in 2011 and 2012.
In the framework of the project "Children’s Rights Behind Bars", a series of national reports were written in fifteen European countries on the existence and the functioning of monitoring and complaints mechanisms for juveniles in detention.
At the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights, Helmut Sax (team: children's rights, women's rights and human trafficking), Tamara Majnek and Tiphanie Crittin (team: Human Dignity and Public Security) carried out the research and wrote the report on the situation in Austria.