Back European NPM Forum: sharing practices on monitoring of pre-trial detention facilities and other important subjects

European NPM Forum: sharing practices on monitoring of pre-trial detention facilities and other important subjects

On 4-5 June 2024, the joint EU-CoE project “Support to Council of Europe for EU network of prison monitoring bodies” (the European National Preventive Mechanisms (NPM) Forum), which aims at harmonising standards of detention in all places of deprivation of liberty, organised a workshop on monitoring the rights and material conditions of persons held in pre-trial detention.

The event brought together more than 60 participants from European NPMs and beyond, international human rights organisations, legal experts, stakeholders, and representatives of various Council of Europe instruments and bodies, to address pressing issues within the framework of the recent EU Recommendation on the procedural rights of suspects and accused persons subject to pre-trial detention and on material detention conditions, which underscores the importance of ensuring humane treatment and fair proceedings for individuals deprived of their liberty. The workshop was a pivotal moment for all stakeholders to come together and address the issues in their respective detention systems. 

The primary objective of the workshop was to exchange on the current state of detainees' rights and material conditions in pre-trial detention and to identify the challenges as well as best practices in monitoring these conditions. Key challenges in monitoring these rights were highlighted, such as limited access to legal representation, inadequate reporting mechanisms, and systemic barriers within the justice system. Recommendations for improving these conditions focused on reducing the use of pre-trial detention through alternative measures and the need to ensure adequate funding and resources for detention facilities. The participants reiterated that enhancing transparency and accountability in detention facilities as well as continuous training of law enforcement and detention staff on human rights standards are crucial.

Discussions on the material conditions in detention centres revealed several important common issues, such as overcrowding, which exacerbates the risk of violence and disease transmission; poor hygiene; limited access to medical care and mental health support, etc.

On several occasions the need to continue fostering the cooperation among legal professionals, human rights organisations, and government representatives operating in the field was highlighted.

Several best practices from different countries were presented. Lessons learned from these practices provided valuable insights for participants to apply in their contexts.

Additionally, the workshop covered a range of other relevant subjects, such as the administrative detention of migrants, with presentations and discussions around the Guide on Administrative Detention of Migrants and Asylum Seekers, and also focused on the Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers to member States on measures against the trade in goods used for the death penalty, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, fostering a comprehensive dialogue on improving the justice and detention systems.

The workshop concluded with a consensus on the urgent need for systemic changes to protect detainees' rights and improve their living conditions.


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