Let’s mark Mandela Day by adopting a minimum set of human rights for millions of detainees Nelson Mandela International Day – Monday 18 July 2016

Speaking ahead of Nelson Mandela International Day, a group of leading human rights experts have called on all States around the world to implement without delay the revised Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners: the Nelson Mandela Rules.

The Rules represent a universally accepted minimum standard for the treatment of prisoners, conditions of detention and prison management, and offer essential practical guidance to prison administrations.

“Speedy and decisive steps towards implementation would truly honour the legacy of the great Statesman and inspirational leader Nelson Mandela who spent 27 years in prison,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Juan E. Mendez; the Special Rapporteur on prisons, conditions of detention and policing in Africa, Med Kaggwa; the Rapporteur on the rights of persons deprived of liberty of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, James Cavallaro; and the Council of Europe Commissioner for human rights, Nils Muiznieks, in an open statement* issued today.

“Their implementation in prisons around the world would significantly improve the treatment of millions of detainees,” the experts stated. “At the same time, it is useful guidance to help prison staff deliver their important and difficult task in a professional and effective way, benefiting society at large.”

The UN Special Rapporteur on torture added that “the revised Rules are premised on the recognition of prisoners’ inherent dignity and value as human beings, and contain essential new procedural standards and safeguards that will go a long way in protecting detainees from torture and other ill-treatment.”

The Mandela Rules include key safeguards such as the recognition of the absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. They also make clear that independent healthcare professionals have a duty to refrain from participating in torture or other ill-treatment, as well as a vital role in detecting such ill-treatment and reporting it.

“The prohibition of the use of prolonged solitary confinement, defined as that in excess of 15 days, is a particularly important new provision in the Rules,” Mr. Mendez stressed.

In their open statement, the group of UN and international experts hailed the adoption of Mandela Rules as “a historic step and one of the most significant human rights achievements in recent years.”

Source: United Nation Human Rights