Around 1 million people held in places of confinement
According to the Kharkiv Institute for Social Research, around one million are held in places of confinement at the taxpayer’s expense each year, a figure equivalent to the population of the Volyn region or Dnipropetrovsk.
The researchers explain that places of confinement include not only penitentiary institutions and police holding facilities, but also places under the Health Ministry, the Education Ministry, the Social Policy Ministry and others. These include psychiatric hospitals, children’s homes, migrant holding facilities, etc.
They say that there are presently around 5,5 thousand places of confinement which may hold approximately one million Ukrainians.
The fact that many places of confinement are not designated as such creates fertile ground for abuse. There are places which anyone can end up in, but not everybody can leave, yet which require neither a court order nor the involvement of anyone defending the person in question.
People confined in such places often lack access to medical and legal assistance, information, the proper rehabilitation, adaptation and socialization programmes. They can remain in confinement all their lives, being moved from one kind of institution to another.
State and public scrutiny is needed, yet journalist investigations over recent years have shown that the government is only formally fulfilling its role, while the public do not usually have access to such places. This means that with regard to hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians, the government’s implementation of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture is on a pitiful level.
The researchers hope that publication of a list of all such places of confinement can help to develop and introduce a good model for public control which will reduce the risk of abuse in such places.
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