Prisons at the heart of the debate

Conectas calls for an end to abusive searches and new rules for the treatment of prisoners Conectas calls for an end to abusive searches and new rules for the treatment of prisoners

Upon completing the cycle of complaints on the Brazilian prison system, Conectas ended its participation in the 25th session of the UN Human Rights Council with an appeal to support the bill banning abusive searches in the country and a commitment to the establishment of new rules for the treatment of prisoners.

In an oral statement prepared together with the Criminal Justice Network, of which Conectas is part, the lawyer Vivian Calderoni revealed that over a 12 month period only 0.03% of visitors were caught trying to smuggle mobile phones or drugs into prisons in the state of São Paulo.

“Abusive searches are an unacceptable practice that constitute inhumane and degrading treatment, and inflict physical and mental suffering,” she said. “Nevertheless, they are performed regularly in Brazil, in violation of the principle of human dignity.” Calderoni ended her presentation by urging the United Nations to support the approval of Senate Bill No. 480/2013, which would ban these types of searches in the country.

Minimum Rules

In another oral statement jointly prepared with CELS of Argentina and Corporación Humanas of Chile, the representative of Conectas in Geneva, Paulo Lugon, called for a greater commitment from UN Member States to the process of Review of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners – a document prepared in 1956 to ensure respect for the dignity of prisoners and to guarantee them healthcare and the right to a defense.

The fourth meeting of the Group of Experts on the matter was scheduled to take place in Brasília in February, but was cancelled by Brazil with less than a week’s notice, during the height of the Pedrinhas prison crisis.

Lugon pointed out that many countries base their prison administration standards exclusively on the Minimum Rules and he called for a commitment from the Council members in the upcoming rounds of talks.

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