Photo of Sir Nigel Rodley with PRI and other delegates at the Intergovernmental Expert Group on the revision of the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners in Cape Town, 2015.
Penal Reform International is deeply saddened to hear of the loss of Professor Sir Nigel Rodley, a founding member of the organisation, after he passed away yesterday, on 25 January 2017, in Colchester, UK.
Sir Nigel Rodley was a long-standing and dedicated supporter to PRI, most recently as a Board Member and in multilateral efforts to improve standards for the treatment of prisoners, as Andrea Huber, PRI’s Policy Director remembers:
“Sir Nigel’s role in the recent revision of the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners cannot be overstated. He played an important part in formulating recommendations and advocating for revisions. He was an infinite source on human rights and international law, a person of the highest integrity and reputation and a generous counsel to PRI and to me personally.”
Alison Hannah, PRI’s Executive Director comments: “Sir Nigel Rodley will greatly be missed. His contribution to penal reform and the human rights movement is enormous and recognised worldwide. Both professionally and personally he was a consistent supporter of our work, invariably positive, responsive and supportive. He always wanted to do more to help us; even apologising during his final illness that he regretted not having been able to play a greater part in our development. He was a true friend and an irreplaceable human rights advocate’.
The Chair of PRI’s Board, Professor Dirk van Zyl Smit adds: “I admired Nigel Rodley for many years without having met him. His book, Imprisonment in International Law, shaped my own thinking, when, in apartheid South Africa, I was trying to get a handle on how prisons and justice could co-exist in a more justice society. I wrote to him at the time saying so, and received a most encouraging reply. When we eventually met, the man lived up to my expectations. I found his combination of warmth with lawyerly command of detail irresistible and shall really miss him.”
Baroness Vivien Stern, founding member and Honorary President of PRI remembers: “PRI was founded in November 1991, during the days when the Berlin Wall fell and a worldwide penal reform movement suddenly seemed possible. Nigel Rodley was one of the inspirations for PRI and a founding member. After his appointment as the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture in 1993 he rapidly undertook a mission to Russia and visited the Penitentiary System. His comment that: “The Special Rapporteur would need the poetic skills of a Dante or the artistic skills of a Bosch adequately to describe the infernal conditions he found in these cells” is still remembered as the starting point for the massive reform of the Soviet gulag system in which PRI played an important part. Sir Nigel was a towering figure in the human rights movement and will be long remembered for his concrete achievements, as an academic, a contributor to the UN human rights system, an untiring activist and an inspiring human being.”
Essex University have opened a tribute page for Sir Nigel Rodley available here.