“The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has created extraordinary challenges for the authorities of all member States of the Council of Europe”, says Mykola Gnatovskyy, President of the CPT. “There are specific and intense challenges for staff working in various places of deprivation of liberty, including police detention facilities, penitentiary institutions, immigration detention centres, psychiatric hospitals and social care homes, as well as in various newly-established facilities/zones where persons are placed in quarantine. Whilst acknowledging the clear imperative to take firm action to combat COVID-19, the CPT must remind all actors of the absolute nature of the prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment. Protective measures must never result in inhuman or degrading treatment of persons deprived of their liberty.”
In the CPT’s view, these principles should be applied by all relevant authorities responsible for persons deprived of their liberty within the Council of Europe area.
The CPT has sent this statement to all Council of Europe member states, asking them to transmit it to all Ministers concerned, as well as to any other authority (including the Judiciary and the Parliament) responsible for the situation of persons deprived of their liberty. In its letter, the CPT requests the authorities to send, by 30 April, an account of the concrete measures taken by the relevant authorities in the context of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic with respect to the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty in prisons as well as in other types of establishment, in particular, health and social welfare institutions and immigration detention centres.
Statement of principles: