Observation group for public oversight holds annual reporting discussion


Today, Deputy Minister of Justice of the Republic of Armenia Suren Krmoyan attended the annual reporting discussion on the activities of the observation group for public oversight over penitentiary institutions and bodies of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia throughout 2016.

Greeting the participants of the discussion, Suren Krmoyan emphasised that, with the creation of the observation group for public oversight over penitentiary institutions, the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia introduced within penitentiary institutions an effective mechanism for human rights protection in order to assess the results of the performed activities and identify the current problems.

During the reporting, the members of the observation group introduced the problems recorded as a result of the 94 visits made to penitentiary institutions throughout 2016, according to the order of priorities of the complaints. Accordingly, healthcare — 48.3%, course of criminal case — 9%, hunger strikes — 5.6%, confinement conditions — 6.2%, decisions of independent committees — 3.9%, food — 3.4%, cases of self-harm — 3.4% and safety — 2.8%.

Preferring to be guided not by the principle "we will do", but rather "we have done", Deputy Minister Suren Krmoyan noted that the data introduced by the observation group also state that the steps of the Government directed towards the penitentiary system were target steps and that a tremendous amount of work has already been done with regard to healthcare having registered 48.3% of complaints. This means that the medical units of 11 penitentiary institutions have been provided with the latest equipment for primary health care and 800 employees of the medical and non-medical personnels have undergone medical training. Repair and improvement works in cells and visiting rooms have been carried out at 11 penitentiary institutions. Effective energy-saving systems have been installed within penitentiary institutions through the application of solar energy and thermal insulation.

Suren Krmoyan also attached importance to the 20-year Strategic Programme for 2018-2038 aimed at improving the penitentiary system; the strategic programme has been introduced on www.e-draft.am for public consideration.

Summing up, Deputy Minister Krmoyan added the following: "We have reached a point where we are openly discussing the current problems in this sector around a table and trying to solve them."