The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, ACHPR has called on state parties to release convicted prisoners and those awaiting trial for petty offences; as part of measures to reduce overcrowding in prisons and curb the spread of the Corona virus.
The commission also stressed that, among those to be released are ”those who have been rehabilitated and pose limited risk to society; the elderly, pregnant women and those with children; those with underlying health conditions, prisoners of conscience, human rights defenders and undocumented migrant detainees.
The commission made this known in its resolution at the end of its 67th ordinary session.
The ACHPR also added that state parties must, “ensure the human rights of persons deprived of their liberty are upheld; provide adequate food, health and rehabilitation facilities, sanitation and quarantine measures to guarantee decent living and health conditions for all detainees;
“Ensure that any restrictions imposed on detainees should be non-discriminatory, but rather necessary, proportionate, time-limited and transparent;
“Ensure that women prisoners, regardless of their condition, receive the appropriate care and are provided with the necessary conditions to meet their specific needs.”
The commission quipped that, state parties must “respect the rights of persons deprived of their liberty in accordance with Article 6 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, while adhering to and complying with the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisons (theNelson Mandela Rules); the Guidelines on the Conditions of Arrest, Police Custody and Pre-Trial Detention in Africa (the Luanda Guidelines); the World Health Organization’s Interim Guidelines on the Preparation, Prevention and Control of COVID-19 for prisons and other places of detention as well as, other regional and international instruments for the protection of the human rights of prisoners.”
The commission thereafter reiterated that, prisons and other places of detention should observe the guidelines and preventive measures of Covid19, “World Health Organization’s Interim Guidelines on the Preparation, Prevention and Control of COVID-19 for prisons and other places of detention as well as, other regional and international instruments for the protection of the human rights of prisoners.”