National Mechanism for Prevention of Torture
The institution of the Ombudsman functions on the basis of attributes assigned to it by the Constitution of the Republic of Albania, as well as Law no. 8454, dated 04.02.1999 "On the People’s Advocate" (as amended). This institution has the attribute of overseeing the implementation of the standards set out by various international instruments which focus on the protection and respect of human rights.
With the approval of Law no. 9094, dated 03.07.2003 "On the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment (OPCAT)", comes the obligation to establish a national framework for the prevention of torture or for attaching such an activity to an institution with a similar profile job. The People’s Advocate, as an independent institution with a special focus on human rights and based on the "Paris Principles", deemed to be the appropriate authority to ensure the professional and independent functioning of the NPM, as specified in the OPCAT.
In order to formalize this proposal, the Ombudsman addressed the Parliament and the Prime Minister with a recommendation, explaining the reasons why this institution was the best choice to play the role of NPM. Following this recommendation and approval of the budget of the Ombudsman Institution in 2008, on 3 January 2008 the Ombudsman began de facto its work in the role of NPM. Legal recognition of the Albanian NPM, as a separate structure to the Ombudsman in Albania, became effective when the law no. 9888, dated 10.03.2008 "On some amendments to the law "On the rights and treatment of detainees" was adopted by the Albanian Parliament.
Under the OPCAT, the purpose of the activity of the National Mechanism for Prevention of Torture (NPM) is the implementation of regular visits to all areas of public institutions where the freedom of the individual is limited. In this sense, inspections, visits and any other form of control in the institutions of the State Police, Penitentiary (prisons and jails), Psychiatric and Infectious hospitals, military bases and units, in the Regional Border and Migration Directories and other centers housing illegal migrants and trafficked persons, have been made to provide a comprehensive coverage of monitoring the situation of human rights in these institutions, to prevent violations and hold an official stand on the problems encountered.
Moreover, problems identified by these inspection visits have been translated into recommendations and periodic national and international progress reports in order to continuously promote respect for human rights, as well as to improve standards of treatment of persons deprived of their liberty by the staff serving in these environments.