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Concluding Observations, CAT/C/ARM/CO/4, 5 December 2016: Armenia

C. Principal subjects of concern and recommendations

Inter-prisoner violence and violence and degrading treatment against homosexual prisoners and sex offenders

31. The Committee is concerned at reports of the high incidence of inter-prisoner violence in penitentiary institutions, including incidents of self-harm, and notes the lack of official statistics in this regard. It notes with concern that the incidence of such violence may be the result of the existence of a criminal subculture and informal hierarchy in prisons that, despite its decrease in recent years, appears still to exercise substantial influence within the penitentiary system. The Committee, while welcoming the recruitment of additional prison staff and some recent salary increases, remains concerned at the shortage of prison staff, which increases reliance on “criminal leaders” to ensure security within prisons. The Committee is also concerned about the persistent discrimination, hate speech, violence and humiliating and degrading treatment directed against sex offenders and homosexual prisoners by other prisoners and about their degrading and involuntary segregation from other inmates, which may aggravate their conditions of detention. The Committee regrets that no relevant measures appear to have been taken to prevent such incidents or ensure the protection of those prisoners, and that such acts occur with impunity (arts. 2, 11-13 and 16).

32. The State party should:

(a) Take robust measures to prevent inter-prisoner violence and incidents of self-harm and protect the life and safety of all prisoners; implement appropriate programmes to prevent, monitor and document incidents of inter-prisoner violence and self-harm and compile official statistics on such incidents; and ensure effective investigations of all allegations of violence between prisoners and hold those responsible accountable;

(b) Recruit and train a sufficient number of prison personnel to ensure adequate ratios of prisoners to staff, improve the authority of prison administrations and take steps to reduce the impact of the criminal subculture and informal hierarchy in prisons;

(c) Put an end to the discrimination and violence against homosexual prisoners and sex offenders, abolish the practice of their degrading and involuntary segregation and all other degrading and humiliating practices that persist in the vast majority of prisons; investigate effectively all such allegations; and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Link to full text of the report: Concluding Observations-CAT-Armenia-2016-eng