The first Steering Committee meeting of a 48-month joint European Union/ Council of Europe action on “Enhancing the human rights protection for detained and sentenced persons” took place on 9 March 2023. The meeting marked the launch of the third phase of the “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Türkiye” action in Serbia.
The action is building on the results of previous two phases and will be implemented in partnership and close co-operation with Prison Administration within the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran, and Social Affairs, and the Ombudsperson Office as designated authority performing the duties of the National Preventive Mechanism.
It will focus on better protection of human rights in police custody through improvement of operating procedures related to police custody and enhancing capacity of staff in charge of custody processes, as well as on greater reintegration of offenders into society by strengthening capacities of Prison Administration staff to deliver specialised treatment and reintegration programmes. Furthermore, improved treatment and protection of human rights of persons placed in psychiatric and residential social care institutions will be achieved through capacity building of staff and proper implementation of deinstitutionalisation strategies. Finally, the action will focus on better monitoring of protection of human rights of persons deprived of liberty by improving capacities of internal oversight and complaint bodies.
All local stakeholders expressed their full support to the action and highlighted the importance of the European Union and Council of Europe support to the reforms in the Republic of Serbia. Both the activity plan and the expected main outcomes of the action were presented and agreed.
The action will last until 31 December 2026, as a part of the joint European Union and Council of Europe programme “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Türkiye”, implemented by the Council of Europe.