49th session of the UN Committee against Torture Consideration of the 5th Russian periodic report NGOs hearings
November 09, 2012 12:39
Intervention by Natalia Taubina, Public Verdict Foundation
I would like to bring your attention to the fact that over the course of the reporting period in the Russian Federation several reforms were initiated: Interior Ministry, investigative bodies, the penal system, reform in military, and although at the moment reforms continue, intermediate results seem to be possible.
One of the main conclusion we could make observing these reforms is that all of them are not focused at the improving human rights situation and increasing the level of guaranties and respect for human rights. Mainly these reforms are devoted to structural changes, increasing budgets, improving financial situation in the institutions, increasing salaries to staff. All these measures could be considered as an important and needed ones but they do not lead automatically to sustainable changes and improvements in human rights.
My colleagues will say later today on situation in penitentiary, military and investigations bodies. As for the continuing reform of the Interior Ministry The measures undertaken in the years 2010 and 2011 have not always been linked, pursued different objectives and were not able to lead to a qualitative and sustainable change in the situation. The problem of torture was ignored during the reform and has not been any purposeful measures taken which would create in practice conditions for the prevention of torture and guarantees against their use. Torture continues to be wide spread practice in police and after several horrible cases of torture ended with deaths of victims which became widely known last spring, the Russian authorities were forced to admit that reforms were unsatisfactory and declared the need for a second stage of reforms. We believe that it is very right moment to recommend the Russian authorities to elaborate concrete measures aimed at preventing of use of torture and improving guarantees and respect of human rights and include this list of measures in the concept of second stage of police reform. These measures should include changes in governing structure of police, system of supervision, work with staff, special trainings for police staff, significant changes in police evaluation system which should include as an indicators quality of police work, to what extend human rights are respected.