On April 10-11, 2014 ADC “Memorial” participated in OSCE Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting on Prevention of Torture in Vienna. This meeting was organized as part of Swiss Chairmanship in OSCE and was aimed at assessing the progress of OSCE countries in prohibiting torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and at reassessing effectiveness of the state parties in creating national preventive mechanisms, as well as analyzing additional measures to be adopted at OSCE level in order to improve the situation with prevention of torture.
Discussions at the meeting were devoted to a wide range of issues: access of observers, including international observers, to closed institutions (not only prisons, but also immigrant detention centers, social centers for children, special treatment centers in hospitals, etc.), the role of civil society in controlling these closed institutions, guarantees for prevention of torture during interrogations, investigations and imprisonment, prevention of sexual and gender-based violence in closed institutions, the problem of protecting people from vulnerable groups from ill treatment, effective investigations of all cases of torture and degrading treatment, preparing standard norms and working instructions for police and other institutions in order to effectively prevent torture.
Special attention was paid to the problem of international cooperation and mechanisms of accountability for countries – members of OSCE concerning observation of international obligations dealing with prevention of torture. These include, first of all, the UN Convention Against Torture and mechanisms for regular reporting by the member states of observing this Convention.
Unfortunately Russian Federation – in sharp contrast to its international obligations – prosecutes NGOs, which help to prepare and publish alternative reports to international organizations. Russian court has recently ruled that ADC “Memorial” is to be considered a “foreign agent” for its cooperation with the UN Committee Against Torture and publication of its report “Roma people, migrants, activists – victims of police arbitrariness”. It is obvious that these repressions are in sharp contradiction with the approach of OSCE and other international institutions, which work to prevent torture and cruel treatment, since the latter is based on cooperation with NGOs that work for defense of human rights.