Statement of the Group of Public Monitors Implementing Supervision over Criminal-Executive Institutions of RA Ministry of Justice on restrictions of the Group’s activities

Keeping under control the situation at the RA MoJ penitentiary facilities ranges among the key functions of the civil society. The detainees at closed institutions are most vulnerable to violations of their rights and therefore ensuring public oversight of the penitentiary facilities is a priority issue for the civil society.

The activity of the Group of Public Monitors aims to ensure public oversight of the protection of the rights of the persons under the control of the penitentiary facilities and improvement of the working and living conditions of the convicts at such facilities and put forward changes and amendments to the penal law, if necessary.

The Group of Monitors gets numerous alarms from the detainees at the RA MoJ penitentiary facilities and their families on human rights violations at such facilities; however, during the visits, the Group’s activities have been lately obstructed by the staff of the RA MoJ penitentiary facilities. The latter explain the restrictions of the Group’s activities by the fact that on relevant detainees there is investigator’s decision on prohibiting their contact with the outside world and access of the public monitors to the cells or their private meetings with the detainees are equivalent to visits. It is noteworthy that the activities of the Group of Monitors were obstructed particularly as they attempted to visit detainees under high-profile cases of political publicity.

Given this situation, the Group has no opportunity to visit the convicts and check on the spot the truthfulness of the alarms whereas, those who alarmed carry on insisting on the persistence of the problem, and the administration of the penitentiary facilities carry on insisting that the voiced problem does not correspond to the realty.

In this situation, the role of civil society members, namely the Group, is of vital importance.

For months, the Group has been deprived of the opportunity to perform its primary mission, i.e. to ensure the public oversight of the protection of convicts' rights.

Please, kindly find attached the letter on obstructing the Group’s activity submitted to the Ministry of Justice and its response.

Կայքը գործում է «Բաց հասարակության հիմնադրամներ-Հայաստան»
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