On International Human Rights Day, Penal Reform International in Central Asia – in cooperation with the Committee on Legislation, Judicial and Legal Reform of the Majilis of the Parliament of Kazakhstan, Embassy of the Republic of South Africa in the Republic of Kazakhstan, Regional Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Public Monitoring Commissions of Kazakhstan – is holding a roundtable devoted to the implementation of innovations in treatment of prisoners and further reform of the prison system.
Following four years of negotiation by states, a revised version of the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners has been tabled for final adoption by the UN General Assembly. The next key step is for national laws and policies to be reviewed and updated in line with these standards as well.
The new Rules are to be known as the ‘Nelson Mandela Rules’ in honour of Nelson Mandela, first black president of South Africa, Nobel Prize winner, and human rights activist who spent 27 years in prison, and the first eighteen years in solitary confinement. The Rules reflect his legacy as a great defender of human rights, equality and democracy.
‘The revised Standard Minimum Rules take into account the latest scientific developments and good practices in the field of corrections. The Rules emphasise the principle of humane treatment of persons deprived of their liberty, contain an absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and a prohibition of indefinite and prolonged confinement of prisoners in isolation’, said Ms. Alison Hannah, Executive Director of Penal Reform International (United Kingdom).
‘The Standard Minimum Rules were first adopted in 1955. The revised version, the development of which Penal Reform International has supported over the last four years, contain some significant changes. This document amends nine areas of these minimum standards, in particular, conditions of detention, healthcare, investigation of deaths in custody, disciplinary measures and solitary confinement, increasing professionalism of prison staff and independent inspections’, said Azamat Shambilov, Regional Director of Penal Reform International in Central Asia.
In anticipation of the adoption of the ‘Nelson Mandela Rules’ this December, participants of the roundtable will discuss amendments made and how they can implemented in the national legislation and practice of the penitentiary system in Kazakhstan.
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