Europe has unique mechanisms for the enforcement of human rights law and the prevention of violations. However, as the Council of Europe’s Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights stated “the gap between standards on paper and the actual situation in Europe is striking”. Prison visits of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) and judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) show that torture, death and inhuman or degrading treatment related to healthcare in prisons still occur regularly in Europe.
Thousands of detainees spend extended periods in overcrowded, unhygienic prisons where health care standards are not equivalent to those outside prisons. Torture and inadequate health care of prisoners might cause death in custody and are considered violations of Articles 3 and/or 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights. Their investigation, punishment and prevention are an important and timely issue not only for international organizations, NGOs and governments. Academic disciplines from different fields can make important contributions which will greatly benefit from an interdisciplinary approach. Research that bridges the gap between empirical social science and legal analysis is scarce. The scientific quality of this research, through access to the realities of the research field, will be significantly enhanced if different academic disciplines interact more with each other and with international organizations and NGOs.
The aim of this conference is to bring together scientific leaders from human rights law, criminology, sociology, ethics and legal medicine with CPT experts, ECHR judges and ONG members and to attract more young researchers in order to further research in this important domain. The conference will help to build highly efficient research groups throughout Europe and to facilitate research contacts with international researchers outside Europe, while at the same time increasing international awareness about unique human rights protections in Europe.
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