viasna on patreon

OMCT: prisoners still suffer great risks of COVID-19

2022 2022-04-01T17:48:05+0300 2022-04-01T17:52:04+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

In March, World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) published a report “Challenging detention and torture in times of Covid-19”, which collects a large array of creative legal and advocacy strategies employed by lawyers and civil society organisations around the world. The report published today brings to light the crucial role played by human rights litigators, advocates and human rights organisations to protect the rights of persons deprived of liberty, help the victims and promote accountability for the abusive practices of law enforcement agencies in the context of the enforcement of pandemic-related public health restrictions.

Photo by Shutterstock
Photo by Shutterstock

As the world is entering its third year of the Covid-19 pandemic, detained persons still suffer great risks and a large number of restrictions on their rights. The global health emergency has laid bare systemic problems in detention facilities worldwide, such as overcrowding, inadequate health services, and poor living and sanitary conditions, says a report published today by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT).

At the same time, in response to the pandemic, many governments have introduced state of emergency regulations and exceptional measures that do not comply with international human rights law and standards. Human rights violations, including torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment towards those breaching quarantine and lockdown directives have been commonplace. Pandemic-related emergency measures have also been, and continue being used, by some governments to further restrict the work of civil society and human rights defenders.

Helena Solà Martín, OMCT senior legal policy adviser, notes that “thanks to efforts of civil society organisations, thousands of prisoners have been released from overcrowded detention facilities, States have been prevented from cracking down on human rights defenders under the pretext of public health, and abusive practices of law enforcement agencies during lockdowns have been exposed, challenged, and in some cases reversed.”

Many of the strategies included were discussed in a series of regional and global Litigation Labs on Detention, Torture, and the Right to Defend in Times of Covid-19, held in November and December 2020, as well as during subsequent exchanges and meetings. Nearly 130 human rights litigators and advocates participated, including the members of the SOS-Torture Network Litigators’ Groups, an OMCT initiative launched in 2019.

Read the report in full on the OMCT website

Marfa Rabkova not getting urgent medical aid in jail

The health of political prisoner and human rights activist Marfa Rabkova is seriously deteriorating; she needs urgent examination but is not receiving adequate medical care in jail.


Latest news