Presentation of NPM Annual Report
On June 26, 2017, the Public Defender of Georgia presented an annual report of the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) to the Government, non-governmental and international organizations, and foreign diplomatic corps. The event was held in relation to the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, marked worldwide on June 26.
The report highlights the human rights situation in closed institutions, namely in penitentiary establishments, organs under the Ministry of Internal Affairs and care homes for persons with disabilities, as well as protection of human rights during the joint return operation of Georgian citizens illegally residing in the EU countries.
The report highlights that establishment of effective investigation mechanism is necessary for an independent investigation of ill-treatment in the penitentiary system, which had been repeatedly mentioned by the Public Defender in his recommendations earlier too. Practical implementation of dynamic security, as well as a system oriented to rehabilitation and re-socialization of prisoners, remains a challenge. The report underlines the problems relating to violence among prisoners, criminal subculture, state of rights of vulnerable groups of prisoners, security, training of the personnel of penitentiary institutions, physical environment and hygienic conditions in prisons, disciplinary penalties and proper contact with the outside world.
Unfortunately, the negative trends of previous years are still observed in the system of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Other problems relating to the protection from ill-treatment is use of excessive force during detention, violence after detention, neglect of procedural rights, inadequate documentation, lack of access to a lawyer, the detainees’ right to be informed of their rights, violation of confidentiality during medical examination and ineffective investigation of alleged ill-treatment by police officers.
The Public Defender noted with regard to the monitoring of the joint return operation of Georgian citizens from the EU countries that in all cases the flights were quiet, although there were a number of flaws concerning the provision of information about the citizens’ health condition to a doctor or telephone contact with family members.
The monitoring of the special care homes of persons with disabilities showed that institutional arrangement of 24-hour specialized facilities, lack of psycho-social services and personnel, as well as their low professionalism, create significant challenges in terms of provision of service oriented to the individual needs of persons with disabilities.
The annual report of the National Preventive Mechanism also describes in detail the measures taken for ensuring communication with stakeholders, improvement of working methodology, staff training and capacity building.