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Concluding Observations, CAT/C/ARM/CO/3, 16 July 2012: Armenia

Conditions of detention 

19. While welcoming current efforts by the State party to improve conditions of detention in prisons, including the refurbishing of some facilities and work on the construction of a new prison, the Committee remains concerned at continued reports of severe overcrowding, understaffing and inadequate food and health care. The Committee is concerned by allegations of corruption in prison, including among groups of prisoners in whose behaviour prison officials appear to acquiesce. It is also concerned by reports that some victims of violence or discrimination are singled out by such groups of prisoners for abusive treatment based on perceived sexual orientation or nationality.

The Committee regrets that there has not been a significant increase in the implementation of alternative measures to detention by the courts, and also regrets the lack of a confidential mechanism for detainees to make complaints of torture or ill-treatment. The Committee notes the establishment of public monitoring groups, consisting of representatives of non-governmental organizations, mandated to carry out monitoring of penitentiary institutions and police stations. However, the Committee is concerned that the Police Monitoring Group is not granted full access to police stations (arts. 2, 11 and 16).

The State party should continue to take effective measures to improve conditions in places of detention and to reduce overcrowding in such places. The Committee recommends that the State party increase its efforts to remedy prison overcrowding, including through the application of alternative measures to imprisonment in line with the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for Non-custodial Measures (the Tokyo Rules) and to provide the Committee with information on any probation service to be established in charge of alternative punishment, conditional release and rehabilitation.

The State party should take necessary measures to eliminate any form of violence or discrimination against detainees based on sexual orientation or nationality, including all abusive and discriminatory actions taken by prison inmates against other detainees. It should establish a confidential system for receiving and processing complaints regarding torture or ill-treatment and ensure that the system is established in all places of deprivation of liberty. The State party should further ensure that all complaints received are promptly, impartially and effectively investigated, and the perpetrators punished with appropriate penalties.

Link to full text of the report: Concluding Observations-CAT-Armenia-2012-eng