In South-East Europe, a wide number of States have ratified the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against torture (OPCAT) and established the National Preventive Mechanisms (NPMs) tasked to monitor places of deprivation of liberty at national level under this treaty. The peer exchanges organized by international stakeholders have allowed these NPMs to fruitfully meet and exchange experiences from their early years of functioning- including in the framework of the European NPM network project established by the Council of Europe and the European Union and implemented by the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) in 2010-2012.
To perpetuate these exchanges and enhance NPM cooperation and synergies in the sub-region, the NPMs from Albania, Croatia, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Slovenia and Serbia have established the self-led South-East Europe (SEE) NPM Network in 2013.
Since then, the network supports NPMs from the region to effectively implement their OPCAT mandate under the rotating Chairmanship of its members. SEE NPM Network members have signed a Declaration of cooperation, implemented through regular meetings, joint visits to places of detention, and the regular sharing of knowledge, documents and other information.
As of 2021, the network includes 11 full members- it’s 6 co-founders, and the NPMs from Austria, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary and Romania. The network also counts 2 observers- the Ombudsman institution of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Ombudsman of Kosovo.
In 2020, under the Chairmanship of the Croatian NPM, the Hungarian NPM was elected as forthcoming Chair of the network for year 2021.