Ivan Šelih, Deputy Ombudsman and Head of the Slovenian National Preventive Mechanism (NPM), spoke about the situation of older people living in retirement homes and prisons at the conference entitled Monitoring the rights of specific groups of people deprived of their liberty. He highlighted the problems the retirement homes are experiencing due to the lack of capacities and staff. He also pointed out that the institution of the Human Rights Ombudsman of the Republic of Slovenia has been striving for some time to improve the situation of prisoners who, due to their age, illness or disability, require additional assistance to meet their basic needs in the form of care or social care during imprisonment in order to ensure respect for their personality and dignity.
The conference took place between 5 and 6 October 2022 in Strasbourg in France and was attended by the representatives of several national preventive mechanisms (NPMs), experts and representatives of international organisations and civil society from the region of the Council of Europe. The purpose of the conference was to provide help to NPMs in dealing with key issues encountered when implementing their mandate with the emphasis on particularities of monitoring the conditions of detention and treatment of especially vulnerable persons who are deprived of their liberty. These persons include children and adolescents, the elderly, women, migrants and minorities.
The attendees also discussed the work methods of NPMs during preventive visits. They particularly focused on various problems that occur in this regard, institutional mechanisms of monitoring the realisation of rights of special groups in various countries and possible special approaches when drafting recommendations for NPMs.
The conference was an excellent opportunity for the representatives of NPMs, international and non-governmental organisations to exchange views and good practices in order to improve the living conditions of vulnerable persons deprived of liberty or whose liberty is restricted. The prevention of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, which is the key task of NPMs, requires a comprehensive, interdisciplinary and long-term approach.