Commissioner for Human Rights

"Monitoring the observance of the rights of people from vulnerable groups deprived of liberty". Conference of European National Mechanisms for the Prevention of Torture


On October 5-6 this year, the director of the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture (NMPT) took part in a meeting of representatives of national preventive mechanisms from EU Member States, which was held in Strasbourg. The annual exchange of experiences  was devoted this year to the issue of monitoring the observance of the rights of people from the so-called vulnerable groups deprived of liberty (minors, elderly people, women, migrants, LGBTQI). The meeting was organized by and by the Council of Europe. The panelists included representatives of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the European Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).

During the first meeting, the director of the NMPT presented the experiences of the Polish mechanism in the field of the situation of minor mothers staying in rehabilitation centers. He described the efforts of the NMPT aimed at creating special units in such institutions for underage mothers and their children. This solution guarantees the possibility of the stay of the mother remaining in the rehabilitation process, along with her newborn child, in the institution. The Director emphasized that the NMPT recommendation was implemented after almost 10 years of its renewal, both in the annual reports of the Mechanism and in general statements of the Commissioner for Human Rights addressed to the Minister of Justice and the Minister of National Education. Thanks to the new Act on the Support and Rehabilitation of Minors, it has become possible to create wards for mothers with children staying in youth care centers, shelters for minors and correctional facilities. Conference participants discussed the special techniques used by national preventive mechanisms during preventive visits, highlighting how they deal with the various problems encountered during them. The conference was a great opportunity to exchange views and best practices, learn from each other and work together on effective remedies to improve the treatment and living conditions of people with so-called vulnerable groups deprived of liberty. Such people include children and adolescents, the elderly, women, migrants and minorities (there are also inextricable interrelationships between these categories - e.g. unaccompanied migrant children from minority backgrounds may be subject to numerous restrictions depriving them of adequate protection against ill-treatment in detention places) . Inevitably, preventing torture and inhuman and degrading treatment requires a holistic, interdisciplinary and long-term approach. The participants agreed on the need to organize further meetings devoted entirely to the specific needs of representatives of sexual minorities deprived of their liberty.