Migration and Human Rights

Russian PMC Project description

Title: Russian PMC Project
Project area: Russian Federation
Funding: Council of Europe Human Rights Trust Fund, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Russian Bank VTB-24, Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman of the Russian Federation (contribution in kind)
Implementation: DG I
Duration 1/1/2012 – 31/12/2014

Overall objective

The overall objective of the “PMC Project” (hereafter “the Project”) is to strengthen the public oversight of places of detention throughout the Russian Federation with a view to reducing the instances of ill-treatment there. This should lead to better implementation of the recommendations made by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) and ultimately reduce the number of cases brought before the European Court of Human Rights concerning detention conditions in the Russian Federation.

Main means for achieving the overall objective

Members of Public Monitoring Committees (PMCs) in the Russian Federation are trained to complete their understanding of their legal mandate and to improve their methodology for visiting places of deprivation of liberty. The training includes both internal exchanges and international exchanges of experience, as well as various co-operation modes with other promoters of human rights in the Russian Federation such as regional ombudsmen and human rights NGOs. The Project also entails extensive co-operation with relevant officials such as those of the Service for the Execution of Punishment, prison officials etc. Necessary facilitating structures such as the creation of a high quality interactive and constantly updated PMC website accompany the other actions of the PMC Project.

Project background and description

The PMC Project, the implementation of which formally started on 1 January 2012 and which lasts at least three years (with the possibility of extension, following a thorough evaluation) was designated once its preparatory phase called the Pre Project had unambiguously manifested the feasibility and usefulness of the PMC Project.

The Pre Project was in turn initiated in 2011 in response to a request for a Council of Europe co-operation project aimed at strengthening the capacities of the PMCs in the Russian Federation. The request was put forward by Russian PMC members and supported by the Human Rights Ombudsman of the Russian Federation, as well as by the Presidential Council for the Promotion of Civil Society and Human Rights Institutions. Consequently, the Council of Europe in close co-operation with the Russian Human Rights Ombudsman developed the Pre Project. The PMCs were created recently for the purpose of providing oversight of places of deprivation of liberty in the Russian Federation, following the necessary change in Russian legislation in 2008. The Pre Project also mapped their needs and contemporary capacities and the PMC Project was then conceptualised and prepared to respond to the findings of the mapping exercise.

While the Project Team is mainly located in the Russian Federation, in Moscow and in offices in the 8 regions of the Russian Federation, the overall management is being done from the Council of Europe headquarters in Strasbourg (DG I) which also ensures the flow of international expertise into the project, originating in e.g. the CPT and the European National Prevention Mechanism (NPM) Network.

The implementation of the Project is monitored by a Supervisory Board co-chaired by the Russian Federal Ombudsman E.A. Pamfilova and by Markus Jaeger.