On 20-21 May 2017, staff of the Human Rights Defender Office of Armenia improved their knowledge and skills on specific techniques for monitoring places of deprivation of liberty, namely: interviewing methods, recording interviews, reporting on visits in line with the relevant European standards. The seminar aimed at strengthening the capacity of the Human Rights Defender Office and enhancing the professionalism of its staff, including the National Preventive Mechanism, to allow it to fulfil in an adequate manner its mandate to visit and monitor any detention place under the authority and control of the state. These monitoring visits are among the most efficient tools for preventing and combating ill-treatment of persons deprived of liberty. Mr Arman Tatoyan, the Human Rights Defender of Armenia took part in the seminar alongside his 22 staff members and 4 representatives of the NGOs that work with the Human Rights Defender Office on the National Preventive Mechanism.
Specific challenges of interviewing persons subjected to torture and other vulnerable groups, special ethical and safety guidelines for such interviews, the fundamental role of reporting and recommendations for achieving impact of monitoring were discussed. Particular emphasis was placed on acquiring skills to interview persons deprived of their liberty in a professional and sensitive way in order to minimise the risk of distress and re-traumatization, as well as the risk of reprisals against these persons.
The seminar was organised within the scope of the Project on “Supporting the criminal justice reform and combating ill-treatment and impunity in Armenia”, funded within the European Union and Council of Europe Partnership for Good Governance (formerly Programmatic Cooperation Framework) in the Eastern Partnership Countries for 2015-2017.