The first Steering Committee meeting of a 48-month joint Council of Europe/European Union Action on “Enhancing the human rights protection for detained and sentenced persons” took place on 09 March 2023. The meeting marked the launch of the third phase of the “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Türkiye” (Horizontal Facility III) action in Serbia.
The Action is building on the results of previous two HF phases and will be implemented in partnership and close cooperation with Prison Administration within the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran, and Social Affairs, and the Ombudsperson Office as designated authority performing the duties of the National Preventive Mechanism. It will focus on the following priorities:
- Better protection of human rights in police custody through improvement of operating procedures related to police custody and enhancing capacity of staff in charge of custody processes;
- Greater reintegration of offenders into society by strengthening capacities of Prison Administration staff to deliver specialised treatment and reintegration programmes;
- Improved treatment and protection of human rights of persons placed in psychiatric and residential social care institutions through capacity building of staff and proper implementation of deinstitutionalisation strategies;
- Better monitoring of protection of human rights of persons deprived of liberty by improving capacities of internal oversight and complaint bodies.
All national stakeholders expressed their full support to the Action and highlighted the importance of Council of Europe and European Union support to the criminal justice reforms. Both the activity plan and the expected main outcomes of the Action were presented and agreed.
For more information on the Action, you may visit the dedicated page on the Cooperation in Police and Deprivation of Liberty website.
The duration of the Action is set at 48 months and will be completed by 31 December 2026, as a part of the joint European Union and Council of Europe programme “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Türkiye” (Horizontal Facility III) implemented by the Council of Europe and running from 2023 until 2026.