Kyrgyzstan: monitoring places of detention to prevent torture

Monday, September 25, 2017

APT organised a workshop on detention monitoring for the Kyrgyz National Preventive Mechanism (NPM), the National Centre for the Prevention of Torture (NCPT), in Bishkek from 5-7 September. Gathering 20 members of the NCPT’s staff coming from the capital as well as regional offices, the workshop aimed at developing further the knowledge of the Kyrgyz NPM members about the methodology of preparing, conducting and following-up to preventive visits in places of deprivation of liberty.

During the workshop, particular attention was given to discussions identifying and addressing vulnerabilities in detention, as well as drafting reports and developing recommendations grounded in the “change perspective”. Two visits to a police custody facility and a pre-trial detention centre in Bishkek provided for the concrete application of the methodology for detention monitoring.

Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan are the only two countries in Central Asia that ratified the UN Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT). After ratification of this key torture prevention instrument in 2008, Kyrgyzstan designated its NPM, which became operational in 2014. Since then, the NCPT has grown into an institution whose mandate is well-known among authorities managing places of deprivation of liberty, and has conducted on average close to a thousand yearly visits since 2015.

The Kyrgyz NPM has a strong legal basis in a law which provides a definition of torture in accordance with the UN Convention against Torture. This law also establishes an institutional structure governed by the principles of ethnic and regional representation and includes the Ombudsman, members of Parliament and civil society organisations in the Coordinating Council of the NPM.

APT will continue its engagement with the NCPT in Kyrgyzstan in 2018 on the basis of a grant awarded by the OPCAT Special Fund.