Challenges of Iraqi activists working on torture prevention

Friday, December 16, 2011

On 7 December the Iraqi 'Justice Network for Prisoners' participated in a one-day workshop on detention monitoring led by the APT and organized by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). Issues such as gaining access to places of deprivation of liberty and drafting recommendations to the authorities were discussed. The event took place in Berlin.

The 'Justice  Network for Prisoners', which started its work in 2008, was invited to visit Germany for a tour of prisons and talks with detaining authorities and representatives from the Ministry of Justice, thanks to the support of UNOPS. In this framework, a one-day workshop was organized together with the APT, with the aim of tackling issues related to detention monitoring that are of particular relevance for the Iraqi context.  

Gaining and guaranteeing access to places of deprivation of liberty emerged as one of the most pressuring issues for most Iraqi human rights activists visiting prisons and other places of detention in order to monitor the way detainees are treated. During lively discussions, the main obstacles were identified and some ideas were jointly analyzed by the group.
Reporting and recommendations were another focus of the day and some practical guidelines were shared amongst participants.

Iraq has recently ratified the Convention against torture and participants showed big interest in its additional protocol (OPCAT), as a way to implement the legal requirements enshrined in the Convention.