Following the adoption of the revised UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners – the Nelson Mandela Rules in December, consultations are being held around the world to raise awareness and to seek the views of national policy-makers and prison authorities on implementation.
PRI has hosted consultations in Uganda and in India. In early August, it was the turn of 11 South East Asian countries who gathered at a meeting in Bangkok hosted jointly by the Thailand Institute of Justice and PRI.
PRI’s Policy Director, Andrea Huber, writing in the ERA Forum, provides an overview of the standards provided by the Nelson Mandela Rules in comparison to the European Prison Rules, demonstrating the added value of the Mandela Rules for guidance on prisoner file management, healthcare, disciplinary sanctions and restrictions, solitary confinement as well as inspection and monitoring.
Dr Ruth Herz, German judge and now visiting professor at Birkbeck School of Law, University of London, took on the role of a ‘TV judge’ on the German TV show ‘Jugendgericht’ between 2001 and 2005. In this expert blog for PRI, she draws on her own experience to examine the effects of bringing televisual media into the trial process.
Dr Marian Liebmann, international expert and consultant on restorative justice, explores the arguments for and against restorative justice for domestic violence cases, concluding that it can in some circumstances serve as an alternative to court if stringent preconditions are met.
PRI Central Asia and the Penal Committee, Ministry of Interior, Kazakhstan, supported by the US embassy, jointly organised a roundtable to discuss strategies for preventing radicalisation in prisons. The roundtable was attended by experts from the United Kingdom, USA and Jordan, and national experts and national prison officials.
An evaluation and analysis of the situation in Kazakhstan together with recommendations for action is being produced.
This paper presents the findings from a 2015 multi‐jurisdictional survey for PRI by eight international law firms – facilitated by Advocates for International Development (A4ID) – which reviewed the extent of (dis)enfranchisement of detained persons in dozens of jurisdictions worldwide and the conditions under which voting rights were restricted.
The research highlights that although rarely used as a sanction on its own, in approximately 45 of the jurisdictions conviction to imprisonment automatically resulted in disenfranchisement.
This report by the UN Working Group on discrimination against women notes the specific physical and mental health issues facing women deprived of their liberty, unequal access to hygiene and health services and the ongoing use of prohibited practices such as shackling during labour.
The report was presented to the Human Rights Council at its 32nd session in June.
The Annual report of the UN Secretary General on the question of Death Penalty finds that despite the actions of a minority of states, the global trend towards the abolition of the death penalty is continuing. It provides an overview of changes in national laws and practices, including initiatives to restrict the use of the death penalty as well as measures to guarantee the protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty.
The report includes a section on the human rights of children of parents sentenced to the death, calling on states to provide psychological and other forms of support to children with parents sentenced to death.
Major new study commissioned by APT shows that torture prevention measures do work
A major new study into the effectiveness of torture prevention measures commissioned by the Association for the Prevention of Torture has now been published. The study covers 14 countries over a 30 year period.
It concludes that preventive mechanisms, such as prison monitoring, and prosecuting perpetrators do contribute to a reduction in torture, but that complaints mechanisms on the other hand have little measurable effect. It also found that the first few hours after arrest – in police custody – are most dangerous and are therefore where the application of effective safeguards can most significantly reduce the risk of torture.
This new report highlights the high risk of torture during interviews by law enforcement and advocates the development of a universal protocol identifying a set of standards for non-coercive interviewing methods and procedural safeguards for all interviews by law enforcement officials, military and intelligence personnel and other bodies with investigative mandates.
This is the last report by the current Special Rapporteur, Juan E Mendez, who took on this mandate in 2010. PRI is very grateful for his commitment and excellent work towards tackling torture and ill-treatment and also for a fruitful working relationship.
This new research by Human Rights Watch reports on the use of anal examinations on people arrested by offences on homosexuality-related charges. Such examinations violate international law, including the UN Convention against Torture.