Regional training of prisons officers and detention personnel

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11 Jul 2011

Regional training of prisons officers and detention personnel

On the 17th and 18th June the Human Rights Section (HRS) of UNIPSIL organized a two day training of trainers for correction officers in Makeni on 'A Human Rights Approach to Prisons Management'. Fifty (50) participants, including 15 women, benefited from the training. Forty one (41) Prison Officers, 6 Police officers and 3 private security officers from all the regions apart from western area were targeted.

The two days training was geared towards strengthening the rule of law and the respect of human rights in the country's correctional institutions. Detention officers were provided with up-to-date knowledge and skills on a human rights approach to prison management in order to ensure respect for prisoners' rights. Trainers included UNIPSIL HRS, the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRCSL), the Sierra Leone Police (SLP), Prisons and the Office of National Security. Participants will now be tasked with giving lectures on human rights standards in prison management during weekly musters held in prison facilities.

The Human Rights Section of UNIPSIL and its partners have engaged in several interventions targeting the corrections system aimed at promoting human rights approach in the execution of duties, enhancing and building capacity to advocate for reforms and mounting advocacy with the relevant authorities on gaps identified in the correctional system. UNIPSIL HRS has extensively collaborated with the Prisons department in training of Prisons officers in human rights and acceptable detention practices. In 2009, the Section trained of a total of 95 Prison Officers in Makeni and Magburaka in a 'Human Rights Approach to Prisons Management. Other 48 personnel manning detention facilities were trained in August 2010 in Kono.

As a follow-up to the training, UNIPSIL HRS and members of the KDHRC visited the Kabala state prison on 23rd June 2011 and held a meeting with officers and inmates separately to discuss ways of improving prison conditions in order to attain minimum standards. Notwithstanding efforts from the Government and its partners to improve detention conditions and facilities, UNIPSIL HRS routine monitoring of detention centers shows that serious challenges remain. In many occasions UNPSIL HRS engaged authorities to take appropriate action where human rights violations were identified.