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In 5,000 detention facilities, people who mostly do not have access to judicial protection are held. How do the School partners plan to help them?

Ukraine without Torture together with partners, the Legal Development Network and the Ukrainian Access to Justice School of Practice on the basis of the Law Club PRAVOKATOR conducted a 2-day training for public monitors of the national preventive mechanism on the topic “Monitoring access to justice in detention facilities”.

“We hear a lot about bad courts and forget that in almost 5,000 detention facilities there are people who mostly do not have access to judicial protection. Moreover, there is no information on how they should be guaranteed the “right to justice”, – said the executive director of the NGO Ukraine without Torture Konstiantyn Avtukhov.

The training was attended by 14 monitors from Poltava, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kherson, Rivne, Mykolaiv, Kharkiv regions.

On the first day, the trainers were experienced monitor of the national preventive mechanism (NPM), regional public relations coordinator of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights in the Poltava region Vera Yakovenko and program manager of the Public Union Legal Development Network Vitalii Okhrimenko.

“During the training, participants worked out a regulatory framework regulating access to justice in detention facilities, developed issues for in-depth monitoring in institutions and analysis of the situation, developed advocacy mechanisms. In addition, the topic and algorithm for the preparation and conduct of informational classes with prison staff on the procedure for applying to persons in detention facilities for the protection of their rights in court and obtaining primary legal assistance have been developed,” said Vera Yakovenko.

Vitalii Okhrimenko noted that due to the combination of experience of practitioners from different regions working in detention facilities and detailed discussion of real cases, it was possible to jointly develop a design for the next step in the study of the availability of legal aid in detention facilities.

Initially, the participants were presented with the data of the analytical report, presented the day before at a round table based on the results of the desk research. Namely, this training is the basis for conducting a field part of the study on access to justice of persons being in detention facilities.

On the first day, the participants discussed the state of availability of legal aid in detention facilities, formed practical recommendations on identifying the problems of the availability of legal aid and the causes of these problems. An important component was the discussion of the peculiarities of behavior and perception of information by persons in penal colonies, geriatric boarding houses, Psycho-Neurological Social Care Homes and psychiatric hospitals; risks of the study participants when communicating with persons in detention facilities; aspects of forced hospitalization and medical coercive measures.

The event was also attended by partners – project coordinator of the Ukrainian Legal Aid Foundation Sheilat Afolabi and Olena Nemchenko, they told public monitors about UA2JSchool, the prospects of cooperation to solve the legal problems of persons in detention facilities, as Pro Bono Lab and ProstoPrav work.

During the second day, the participants worked out the main important part of the methodology of monitoring visits to determine the state of access to justice in detention facilities – checklists. The main issues were identified, which will be included in the checklist for further study of certain detention facilities, namely: penal colonies, geriatric boarding houses, Psycho-Neurological Social Care Homes and psychiatric hospitals.

Also, the participants were visited by the Board Member of the NGO Ukraine without Torture Oleksandr Hatilyatulin, who noted: “It is very good that NPM monitors not only make monitoring visits to detention facilities, but together with partners participate in the study of access to justice of persons who are there. This is an important component in the prevention of torture in detention facilities and the ability of these people to restore their rights using various forms of protection of their rights.”

Additional information:

The training was organized by NGO Ukraine Without Torture with the support of the European Union and the International Renaissance Foundation within the framework of the joint initiative “EU4USociety”. The filling of the training reflects the position of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the position of the International Renaissance Foundation and the European Union.

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