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Faces of Prevention

The system of preventive monitoring visits to places of detention as one of the most effective ways to prevent torture and other forms of abuse is today put into daily practice, all over the world. In this section we want to present a few of the committed individuals, who in their daily work, carry out the direct preventive work. They are the Faces of Prevention.


It was during a visit to an overcrowded detention centre where a hundred frightened Chinese migrants, likely victims of human trafficking, were held that Esteban Vargas Ramirez was first confronted with the reality and the helplessness of persons deprived of their liberty. "In moments such as these something happens, something stirs inside us; we feel compelled to act."

“I realize how much the detainees respect us, as if we were their voice, or a guarantee that their rights will be respected.” Isabel Mansur has visited prisons in Rio de Janeiro for more than a decade and is today a member of the local torture prevention mechanism. A rebellion which broke out during her very first visit to a prison changed her perceptions of the system.

“Prison is something deeply inhuman.” Magda Boutros is an activist and a researcher for the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. Her work took a new turn in 2011, when the chaos in the prisons during the revolution began to occupy all her time.

Stanimir Petrov has worked for the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee for 17 years. The situation over the past two decades in Bulgaria has changed a lot but many challenges remain: "Material conditions have hardly improved. There is a lack of adequate resources, many prisons suffer from chronic overcrowding, and the training of prison guards and police forces remains unsatisfactory."


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