Study visit of Ukrainian NPM to the Austrian Ombudsman Board

Vienna 7-8 November 2019
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© Council of Europe

© Council of Europe

Representatives of the National preventive mechanism (NPM) of the Office of Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights had an opportunity to discuss effective tools for prevention of inhuman treatment in psychiatric and social care institutions during the study visit to Vienna on 7-8 November 2019. The study visit aimed at exchange with the Austrian Ombudsman Board and familiarization with the best practice examples was organized in the framework of the Council of Europe project “Enhancing implementation of the European human rights standards in Ukraine”.

Representatives of the NPM of Ukraine and Austria examined various elements of effective prevention of ill-treatment: planning and conducting monitoring visits, identifying the violations, provision of recommendations for elimination of shortcomings and verification of their implementation.

Along with the general aspects of NPM work, discussions were focused on the protection of human rights in the psychiatric and social care institutions, including those for patients with dementia. Such institutions are of a specific interest for the Ukrainian NPM due to the latest visits and recommendations of the European committee for prevention of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment ; these institutions are also significantly affected by the ongoing medical and social care reforms in Ukraine, some aspects of which might put the human rights of their patients at risk.

Visit of the delegation to the nursing home with a special ward for people with dementia, located in Lower Austria, provided a valuable example of best practices of organization of care and treatment of patients minimizing the risks of human rights violations. Manager of the nursing home presented their innovative approaches to staff training, creating a safe and supporting environment or patients and ensuring respect of their dignity.

The information and practices discovered during the study visit will be shared by the NPM representatives with the management of psychiatric and social care institutions of Ukraine during the monitoring visits and awareness raising activities.