Ill-treatment has been prohibited by international and regional instruments and conventions for many decades. Yet torture and other forms of inhuman or degrading treatment at the hands of state officials, and particularly those engaged in the criminal justice systems of member states, continue to feature in many European countries. It also appears that the frequency of ill-treatment is not declining.
Helsinki Committees conduct research and monitor detention facilities for children in Central and Eastern Europe. The main aim of the project is to examine lawfulness of detention and its conditions in Bulgaria, Poland, Romania and Hungary.
The lack of an efficient criminal legal aid system is especially detrimental to indigent pre-trial detainees and defendants in general. Fair and effective access to criminal justice to those who cannot afford to retain a lawyer is provided for by international norms and Hungarian laws enshrining the right of indigent defendants to have free and effective defense.
The Hungarian Helsinki Committee takes part in a comparative research project ‘Effective Defence Rights in the European Union and Access to Justice: Investigating and Promoting Best Practices’ project. The project is the initiative of four organizations: JUSTICE, Maastricht University, Open Society Justice Initiative and theUniversity of West England.