Human Rights Ombudsperson’s powers extended
According to amendments introduced last week in the Law on the Human Rights Ombudsperson, the latter will now be able to visit places of confinement without warning. The amendments passed by the Verkhovna Rada extend the Ombudsperson’s powers. They are an important step in fulfilling Ukraine’s international commitments under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture [OPCAT] regarding the creation of State body responsible for prevention of ill-treatment in places of confinement and restriction of liberty. Ukraine was supposed to have developed a national preventive mechanism within a year of ratifying OPCAT (in 2006). This is the first major progress in that direction.
The Human Rights Ombudsperson will be able to make spot checks of SIZO [remand centres) and prisons, as well as temporary holding facilities for foreign nationals and stateless persons, and a large number of other institutions which people may not leave of their own free will. The list includes psychiatric institutions, “psycho-neurological institutions” (for people with serious psychological disorders usually making them unable to cope by themselves), institutions for the disabled and for the elderly.
The law is available in full (in Ukrainian) here http://w1.c1.rada.gov.ua/pls/zweb_n/webproc4_1?id=&pf3511=44146