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Preventing Torture in the South Caucasus


Friday, June 20, 2008
The APT returned to the South Caucasus in the week of 23 June to participate in two national events aimed at preventing torture in the region. On 23 June, APT participated in a round-table event in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, on the steps taken so far by the country to put in place a National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) under the OPCAT. To coincide with the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on 26 June, the APT also participated in and spoke at an event marking this important day in Tbilisi, Georgia. The meeting addressed various important themes, including current global challenges to combating torture.

Date:
23-26 June 2008
Place:
Yerevan, Armenia and Tbilisi, Georgia
Partners:

Armenia:

Helsinki Committee of Armenia

Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Yerevan Office

Georgia:

Public Defender of Georgia

UN Resident Coordinator in Georgia

European Commission Delegation to Georgia

Purpose:
To prevent torture in Armenia and Georgia
Activities: The APT returned to the South Caucasus in the week of 23 June 2008 to participate in two national events aimed at preventing torture in the region.

On 23 June the organisation participated in a one-day round-table event in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, on the steps taken so far by the country to put in place a National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) under the OPCAT. The exchange was co-sponsored by the Helsinki Committee of Armenia and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's Office in Yerevan and addressed a range of salient issues, including civil society's vision of an NPM.

To coincide with the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on 26 June the APT also participated in and spoke at a half-day event marking this important day in Tbilisi, Georgia. The meeting, which was co-sponsored by the Public Defender of Georgia (Ombudsman), UN Resident Coordinator in Georgia and the European Commission Delegation to Georgia, addressed various important themes, including current global challenges to combating torture and the steps currently being taken by Georgia in this regard.
Outcome:
The round-table in Yerevan had the effect of pushing forward the belated process of laying down the foundations of Armenia's NPM. In theory, Armenia should have designated or established its national mechanism by mid-September 2007. During the meeting the prospect was explored of whether civil society might be able to collaborate with the Ombudsman's Office in order to fulfill this function. However, it remains to be seen whether there will be any concrete developments in this respect.

The exchange in Tbilisi was designed to raise greater awareness among decision-makers of the imperativeness that all steps be taken to counter acts of torture and others forms of ill-treatment in the country. The opening of the event was attended by around 80 actors, including a number of diplomatic representatives.
Next Steps:
The APT is currently engaged in several projects in the South Caucasus region. In the coming months the organisation is set to return to the region for further torture prevention related activities.
Documents:
Agenda of the Armenian event
Contact Person:
Matthew Pringle, Europe & Central Asia Programme Officer
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