One of the biggest tests for a society committed to human rights lies in the way it treats persons in conflict with the law and in particular persons deprived of their liberty. In most countries in the world, it is persons living in poverty who are most likely to find themselves in conflict with the law, and in particular most likely to be incarcerated. Persons deprived of their liberty therefore often belong to the most vulnerable and marginalised groups in society.
All prisoners shall be treated with the respect due to their inherent dignity and value as human beings, but unfortunately, today, men, women and children all around the world regularly have their basic human rights violated in places of detention. Degrading treatment, overcrowding, lack of food, poor sanitation and insufficient health care are only a few examples of what inmates around the world experience on a daily basis.
A fair, efficient and humane criminal justice system, treating offenders with respect and dignity, is a cornerstone for the development a society based on human rights and the rule of law. This has been recognised by the international community and in light of this several instruments have over the years, under the auspices of the United Nations and regional organisations, been developed with a view to ensure the respect for human rights in the criminal justice system. Examples of such instrument are the recently updated United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the so-called Mandela Rules) and the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders (the so-called Bangkok Rules).
However, standard setting is only one side of the coin. Implementation is the other one, and it is therefore important that standard setting is followed by the development of systems, structures, mechanisms, and tools allowing for the standards to come into effect. This can often be a challenge. The international community can play an important role in providing support to such processes and there are several examples of how countries successfully have availed themselves of such support.
Supporting Good Prison Practice – Experiences and Lessons Learned
The objective of this seminar was to discuss experiences and share lessons learned from supporting good prison practice. The panellists will provide examples from different areas and countries, and it is our expectation that this event will contribute to ongoing and future efforts aimed at supporting effective, fair, humane and accountable criminal justice systems, based on human rights and the rule of law.
The seminar took place on Friday 11 December, 13.00-16.00 in the Beijing conference room at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute, Lund, Sweden.
11 December 2015 13.00-16.00
Venue: Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Lund, Beijing Conference Room
13.00-13.05 Opening remarks
• Swedish contributions to UNDPKO missions – experiences and lessons learned from cooperation in Africa
Mr. Christer Isaksson, Head of the International Department, Swedish Prisons and Probation Service
• Current practices and challenges in implementing the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders
Ms. Chontit Chuenurah, Programme Chief for the Implementation of the Bangkok Rules and Treatment of Offenders, Thailand Institute of Justice
• Applying a human rights based approach to prison design
Ms. Nieves Molina-Clemente, Head of the National Human Rights Institutions Unit, Raoul Wallenberg Institute
• Letting the watchdogs in – challenges and opportunities of the Open Door Policy of Uganda Prison Service
Mr. Tomas Max Martin, Senior Advisor, Danish Institute for Human Rights
• Practically applying the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners – Raoul Wallenberg Institute’s cooperation with the Directorate General for Corrections in Indonesia
Mr. Christian Ranheim, Consultant, former head of Raoul Wallenberg Institute’s office in Indonesia
15.45-16.00 Conclusions and Closing
Photo credit:Michael Coghlan flickr photo stream