Turkey: Monitoring Places of Detention

Monday, May 19, 2008
Turkey - Monitoring Places of Detention
In the largest and most representative event of its kind in Turkey, over 150 delegates met in Ankara, on 22-23 May, to discuss how Turkey could implement its obligations under the OPCAT. Two representatives of the UN Subcommittee on Prevention, Zdenek Hajek and Marija Definis-Gojanović, as well as the APT Secretary General, Mark Thomson, participated in the event organised by the European Commission.

Date: 22-23 May 2008
Place:
Ankara, Turkey
Partners:
European Commission's Technical Assistance Information Exchange Instrument
Purpose:
To consider the implementation of the OPCAT in Turkey.
Activities:

In the largest and most representative event of its kind in Turkey, over 150 delegates met in Ankara to discuss how Turkey could implement its obligations under the OPCAT. The European Commission's Technical Assistance Information Exchange Instrument (TAIEX) sponsored a two-day seminar on the subject on 22-23 May 2008. Various Turkish and international actors attended the seminar, including two representatives of the UN Subcommittee on Prevention, Zdenek Hajek and Marija Definis-Gojanović, as well as the APT Secretary General, Mark Thomson.   

Day one of the event focused specifically on relevant international, regional and national standards concerning the independent oversight of places of detention as well as the main attributes of National Preventive Mechanisms designated or established under the OPCAT. Two representatives from Slovenia's NPM also addressed the audience and related Slovenia's efforts to establish a mixed ombudsperson-civil society monitoring body, emphasising the open manner in which the latter members of the NPM were recruited. The second day of the seminar looked more specifically at the process of putting in place NPMs, their functioning in practice and their relationship with international and regional human rights mechanisms, with a particular focus on Turkey.

Since mid-2005 there have been several civil society inspired initiatives to discuss OPCAT implementation, most of which have been attended by the APT. However, this European Commission’s TAIEX-hosted event was the largest and highest profile of OPCAT related activities to date, drawing in government, civil society and international representatives alike.

Outcome: 

The event provided invaluable technical assistance to Turkey, which is in the process of examining how it will implement the OPCAT. In addition to the international speakers, a range of civil society and government representatives attended the event. While certain actors believed that Turkey required a completely new monitoring mechanism for the purpose of the OPCAT, others were of the opinion that existing bodies could possibly be modified to function as the NPM. Several delegates also stressed that it was imperative that an inclusive national dialogue take place on this issue of Turkey's future visiting body.

The APT will continue to collaborate with national actors to ensure that an effective NPM is put in place in Turkey.

Documents: Agenda
Contact Person:
Matthew Pringle, Europe & Central Asia Programme Officer
 Turkey: Monitoring places of detention