Prisoners’ Rights Matter

"Prison is a mirror of society. W. Churchill."

This quote was posted on the website by our colleagues from the Center for Civic Initiatives in Nagorno-Karabakh. The development of public affairs in their country is quite complicated. Nagorno-Karabakh independence is not recognized by any state in the world. Officially, Nagorno-Karabakh is part of Azerbaijan, but in reality it is under the control of Armenia. Territorial disputes have been draging on for many years and there is still shooting at the borders.

Against this inhospitable backdrop, the Center for Civic Initiatives strives to protect the human rights of prisoners in Karabakh prisons. Their activities include educating prison staff on international rules for the treatment of prisoners, organizing concerts for prisoners and providing psychological support to prisoners. An integral part of their work is the monitoring of prisons, in which the treatment of prisoners, hygienic conditions in prisons and the availability of medical care in prisons are regularly evaluated. In 2007, however, Nagorno-Karabakh authorities banned the colleagues from entering prisons for eight long years.


The campaign supported by NESEHNUTÍ focused on restoring independent civic monitoring of the situation in the prison. At the beginning of 2015, the campaign was successful as the initiative was allowed to do the monitoring in the prison in Karabakh city Shusha/Shushi and organize events for its prisoners and employees.

As a result, the Center for Civic Initiatives resumed its activities and thus improved not only the conditions for serving a sentence in custody, but also the mental state and legal awareness of prisoners.