World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Uruguay Must End ‘Appalling’ Prison Conditions

UN Rights Expert Urges Uruguay To End ‘Appalling’ Prison Conditions

New York, Mar 27 2009 5:10PM

Concluding his visit to Uruguay today, a United Nations human rights expert said he could not find hard evidence of torture, but urged action against what he called other “large-scale human rights violations” in detention facilities.

“I received few allegations of torture in police stations that could be proven beyond reasonable doubt by forensic examinations and other means of evidence,” Manfred Nowak, the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, said after his five-day visit to the South American country.

“However, I did receive numerous credible allegations of ill-treatment and excessive use of force in prisons, police stations and juvenile detention centres,” added Mr. Nowak, who, like all Special Rapporteurs, reports in an independent and unpaid capacity to the UN Human Rights Council.

He said he found Libertad Penitentiary particularly appalling, with convicted prisoners and pre-trial detainees held together “like animals in metal boxes” for almost 24 hours a day, often drinking from toilets because of restricted access to water.

Many detainees cut themselves in order to be taken to a doctor because of limited access to medical care, he reported.

“During the military dictatorship, Libertad Penitentiary became an infamous symbol for torture and ill-treatment. Two decades later, it is renowned for its sub-human conditions,” Mr. Nowak said.

Describing similarly disturbing conditions in juvenile detention centres, he said that many of the problems in the criminal justice system resulted from the lack of policy direction and little strategy for rehabilitation and reinsertion into society.

“The risk of a total collapse of the penitentiary system and the lack of an alternative concept is a serious source of insecurity, violence, and deterioration of basic values that severely impacts society as a whole,” he said.

“The people of Uruguay, a country known for its democracy and social development, do not deserve such a penitentiary system,” he stressed.

He applauded the Government’s ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and the recent adoption of a law establishing a National Human Rights Commission that includes a national mechanism for the prevention of torture.

He expressed hope that the new institution will build on the mechanism now under the Parliamentary Commissioner on Penitentiaries, maintaining that the Commissioner’s current mandate should be extended to cover all places of detention and sufficient resources should be provided for its activities.

Among other recommendations, Mr. Nowak urged the creation of a Ministry of Justice to be responsible for comprehensive reform of criminal justice and penitentiary policy; an increase in non-custodial measures as a means to reduce the overcrowding of prisons; and specific measures to improve conditions of facilities.

He also recommended that torture be criminalized in full accordance with the UN Convention and that every suspected case of torture and ill-treatment be fully investigated, with the perpetrators brought to justice.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Support Needed For Olive Farmers In Palestinian Territory

Olive trees in the Palestinian town of Ni'lin in 2008 were very close to expanding Israeli settlements. Photo: IRIN/Shabtai Gold More>>

ALSO:

Use Of Drones In Law Enforcement May Violate Human Rights

22 October 2014 – The increasing use of armed drones within domestic law enforcement risks depersonalizing the use of force and infringing upon the rights of individual citizens, a United Nations independent human rights expert warned today. More>>

Gaza: Pledges For Aid, Reconstruction Must Be Honoured

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) addresses the Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question. Security Council President for the month of October, María Cristina Perceval of Argentina, is at ... More>>

Ebola: UN Prepares For Arrival Of Trial Vaccines

In early October 2014, with the help of the US Navy, a new mobile laboratory opened at Island Clinic, one of the WHO-supported Ebola Treatment Units (ETU) in Monrovia, Liberia. Photo: WHO/R. Sørenson More>>



Palestine: Human Rights Defender Abdallah Abu Rahmah Found Guilty

Human Rights Defender Abdallah Abu Rahma was found guilty by an Israeli military court of “disturbing a soldier”. More>>

NCRI: Iran: 13 Executions In One Day

The henchmen of the clerical regime hanged 13 prisoners on Sunday October 19, 2014 in Ghezel-Hessar Karaj Prison, Tabriz Central Prison and Rasht Central Prison. More>>

MSF: Ebola Crisis Update - 16th October 2014

16 October 2014 Cases Deaths Guinea 1,472 843 Liberia 4,249 2,458 Nigeria 20 8 Sierra Leone 3,252 1,183 Senegal 1 0 Total 8,994 4,492 WHO Figures - Data are based on official information reported by Ministries of Health. These numbers are subject to change ... More>>

ALSO:

Detroit: City-Backed Water Shut-Offs Contrary To Human Rights

20 October 2014 – The city of Detroit must restore access to water for its citizens who remain unable to pay their bills, two United Nations experts urged today, adding that a failure to do so would be a violation of the most basic human rights of those ... More>>

ALSO:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news