The Ombudsperson’s Regional Coordinators participate in the first NPM monitors' Forum

Vinnytsia, 8-9 July 2015 – Regional Coordinators for public relations of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsperson), National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) monitors, human rights activists, and international organizations representatives took part in the first NPM Monitors' Forum.

11745928 611554312320666 80569382569303749 nThe National Preventive Mechanism is an independent preventive body, operating under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT), aimed at regular monitoring of all places of deprivation of liberty to prevent torture and ill-treatment of people in custody.

According to the definition of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the NPM monitors undertakes visits and formulates recommendations to improve the treatment and detention conditions at the country level.

In Ukraine, the NPM is introduced in the form of the Ombudsman+ model, which envisages cooperation between the Ombudsperson's Office and civil society, particularly Regional Coordinators, in monitoring all types of places where people are deprived of liberty.

For the past two years, UNDP has been supporting the implementation of the system of Ombudsperson's Regional Coordinators in order to tackle regional representation challenge of the Office of the Ombudsperson. Locally-involved civic experts have come to serve as "eyes and ears" of the Ombudsperson for monitoring the human rights situation on the ground.

The network of Regional Coordinators considerably increases the public's trust level to NPM monitoring visits carried out by the Office of the Ombudsperson and stimulates collaboration between monitors at the regional level.

11223310 612008975608533 5426469516615440335 nThe main task of the Forum was to answer the questions: who are we?", "where do we go?", and "how to develop a community of NPMs?"as Vira Yakovenko, the NPM monitor and the Ombudsperson's Regional Coordinator in Poltava region, underlined.

Roman Romanov, Human Rights and Justice Program Initiative Director at International Renaissance Foundation, noted: "The NPM community is a unique community for the protection of the rights of the most vulnerable groups. Today, we have a real opportunity to become known and form our own human rights protection agenda."

During the meeting, participants evaluated the current state of the NPM and formulated recommendations for its further development.

The Forum became a platform for professional development of the NPM monitors and exchange of experience on the NPM-related topics and challenges.