The 'Nelson Mandela rules' aim to improve lives of prisoners

2015-10-10 09:30

Johannesburg - The United Nations (UN) general assembly has named a set of guidelines for the humane treatment of prisoners after Nelson Mandela.

UN general assembly president Mogens Lykketoft said nations had previously failed to protect prisoners' human rights too often.  

This was heard on Tuesday at the launch of the Revised Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, named after Mandela.

The ‘Mandela Rules' were set to improve the treatment of prisoners worldwide.  

“Hidden from our gaze, and indeed sometimes before our very eyes, prisoners have suffered abuse and mistreatment,” Lykketoft said.  

The rules outlined that the religious beliefs and moral precepts of prisoners be respected.

UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon described the revised rules as “a great step forward.”

“The secretary-general welcomes the revised rules and progress made,” said assistant secretary-general for human rights Ivan Šimonovic. 

He told delegates attending the event in New York that Ki-moon noted the critical importance of protecting human rights. He added prisoners should enjoy the same standard of health care in the community and receive continuity of treatment and care.  

“This provision is important, because the risk of transmission of HIV and other infectious diseases is much higher in prisons than in the general population."

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