Conditions improve in Indonesian prisons

A recently completed four-year programme in Indonesia between the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the Raoul Wallenberg Institute supported increased compliance of international human rights standards in Indonesian prisons.

In an article on Sida’s website, the agency writes that the results of this programme included a more humane outlook on prisoners and improvement of conditions in Indonesian prisons.

“While most international donors over the last decade have been focusing on strengthening the rule of law through assistance to actors within the judicial system, not many have had access to the flip side of the coin – the correctional facilities,” says Christian Ranheim, head of the RWI Jakarta Office. “One out of few notable exceptions has been the Raoul Wallenberg Institute (RWI).”

IMG_8013 (2)To achieve these results, RWI worked systematically, together with the Indonesian correctional service, to assess and implement actions for the improvement of conditions at a number of Indonesian prisons. In this process, hundreds of decision-makers and prison officials underwent training on human rights.

The recently completed programme also included targeted support for the implementation of the Indonesian National Human Rights Action Plan.

While the support from Sida to this programme ended in 2014, RWI has carried on the work in cooperation with the Indonesian correctional service with funding from other partners, including the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Strengthening human rights capacity in corrections is an important part of the Institute’s work. In addition to the work with corrections in Indonesia, RWI has had a longstanding partnership with the Kenya Prisons Service. The Institute recently concluded a very intensive three-year cooperation with them, which focused on the practical implementation of human rights standards at a range of different Kenyan penal institutions.

“We are now planning for a new five-year programme with both Kenya Prisons and Probation Services, as well as other justice sector actors, aimed at sustainable implementation of human rights standards throughout the correctional system,” says Josh Ounsted, head of the RWI Kenya Office.

He says the results achieved by trained Kenyan officers to date have been very impressive. “These include the establishment of internal monitoring and accountability mechanisms, as well as numerous concrete actions taken at the institutional level to increase compliance with international human rights standards in areas ranging from hygiene and sanitation to discipline, prison rules and family contact.”

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