Discussion on torture prevention in Armenian penitentiary institutions | EUNewsletter

Discussion on torture prevention in Armenian penitentiary institutions

11 December 2012

On 5 December 2012, a discussion on torture prevention in Armenia was held at the Human Rights Defender’s Office (HRDO).
During the roundtable discussion, the EU Advisory Group, a policy advice project funded by the European Union, presented a draft Policy Paper on the implementation of Armenia’s international commitments on the prevention of torture in penitentiary institutions. The aim of the document was to again reinforce recognition of international standards and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, and to provide recommendations to improve the situation, mainly through amendments to existing or draft laws.
Onno Simons, the Head of the Political, Economic, Press and Information Section of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Armenia, stressed that torture was a violation of fundamental human rights. ‘I hope that this will be the launch of an active and productive discussion on how to improve human rights protection in Armenia with the involvement of both authorities and civil society,’ he added.

Dalia Zukauskiene, Advisor on Human Rights from the EU Advisory Group, noted that during the last few months, the issue of the prevention of torture had been topical in Armenia and recommended to use the momentum for suggestions and recommendations in this area.

The Head of the National Preventive Mechanism department of HRDO, Ani Nersisyan, presented the results of visits to penitentiary institutions in Armenia by HRDO staff since 2009. The aim of the visits was to investigate and prevent torture and other related abuses, mainly in police departments, taking into consideration the fact that detainees are particularly vulnerable during the first period of their detention.

‘In May-April 2012, we visited Yerevan-based institutions and made a report on the situation, which was then sent to the Prime Minister of Armenia. Detainees were mostly kept longer than the law required, did not have access to a lawyer, and were prevented from informing their relatives about their detention, among other violations’, said Nersisyan.

Discussion on torture prevention in Armenian penitentiary institutions

On 5 December 2012, a discussion on torture prevention in Armenia was held at the Human Rights Defender’s Office (HRDO). During the roundtable discussion, the EU Advisory Group, a policy advice project funded by the European Union, presented a draft Policy Paper on the implementation of Armenia’s international commitments on the prevention of torture in penitentiary institutions. The aim of the document was to again reinforce recognition of international standards and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, and to provide recommendations to improve the situation, mainly through amendments to existing or draft laws. Onno Simons, the Head of the Political, Economic, Press and Information Section of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Armenia, stressed that torture was a violation of fundamental human rights. ‘I hope that this will be the launch of an active and productive discussion on how to improve human rights protection in Armenia with the involvement of both authorities and civil society,’ he added. Dalia Zukauskiene, Advisor on Human Rights from the EU Advisory Group, noted that during the last few months, the issue of the prevention of torture had been topical in Armenia and recommended to use the momentum for suggestions and recommendations in this area. The Head of the National Preventive Mechanism department of HRDO, Ani Nersisyan, presented the results of visits to penitentiary institutions in Armenia by HRDO staff since 2009. The aim of the visits was to investigate and prevent torture and other related abuses, mainly in police departments, taking into consideration the fact that detainees are particularly vulnerable during the first period of their detention. ‘In May-April 2012, we visited Yerevan-based institutions and made a report on the situation, which was then sent to the Prime Minister of Armenia. Detainees were mostly kept longer than the law required, did not have access to a lawyer, and were prevented from informing their relatives about their detention, among other violations’, said Nersisyan.