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26th June - The United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

24.06.2015 16:53
Category: work and news


The United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture has been held annually on 26th June since 1998. The purpose of the day is to speak out against the crime of torture and to honour and support victims and survivors of torture throughout the world. 26th June 2015 will be the 17th time that this day has been marked. More information is available at http://www.un.org/events/torture/. On this day we should not only remember victims of torture but also stress our common commitment to work for the prevention of torture in the future, so that others will not suffer as those who have been victims have suffered.

An important role in this field is entrusted to the Human Rights Ombudsman of the Republic of Slovenia (Ombudsman) since by the Law on Ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  she also carries out important tasks and authorisations of the national preventive mechanism (NPM) together with selected non-governmental organisations. Thus, the Ombudsman is a part of the generally applicable system under the auspices of the United Nations which at the international and national level represents an (additional) mechanism to prevent torture and other forms of ill-treatment of people deprived of their liberty. This system is particularly based on regular visits to places of detention.

These are preventive visits, the purpose of which is to prevent torture or other ill-treatment before it occurs. In 2015, for example, the Ombudsman has paid 35 visits to places of detention, namely a psychiatric hospital, 13 homes for the elderly, two special social welfare institutions, three educational institutions, 12 police stations and three institutions for those serving prison sentences or sections of these institutions (more about this here)

The NPM drafts a comprehensive (final) report on the findings established at the visited institution after each visit. The report also covers proposals and recommendations for the elimination of established irregularities and to improve the situation, including measures to reduce the possibilities of improper treatment in the future. Based on the report, the response of the competent authority and any additional positions of DPM, a short report on the visit which is published on the internet as well as an annual report on the execution of the tasks and authorities of DPM are prepared for each visit.

In addition to the most important preventive effect of visits, we note that in many of the institutions visited the living conditions and treatment of persons deprived of their liberty have improved and that, therefore, DPM through its operation contributes significantly to the improvement of the situation of persons deprived of their liberty. This was also noted by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) when visiting Slovenia in 2012 (see report on this visit, p. 10). 

Assessments of successful work have also come from the expert sphere (See e.g. Korošec, Damjan: To the Ombudsman's report on the implementation of the tasks of the National Preventive Mechanism in: Legal Practice No. 47, 8th December 2011),  since the findings of the NPM have also been quoted by the European Court for Human Rights in its judgements (See e.g. case Mandić and Jović v. Slovenia and Štrucl Jakob and Others v. Slovenia) and are also the subject of many diploma and Master’s theses.




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