UNAMID and Government of Sudan join global commemoration of Mandela Rules for treatment of offenders in prison
A recent celebration of Nelson Mandela Day, held in Khartoum on the 18 July, 2017, was attended by the Sudanese Police Commissioner General and other senior government officials, including the Deputy Chief Justice, the Director General of Sudan Prisons and Reform, representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), human rights organisations and UNAMID representatives. The objective was to join National Prison Services worldwide in commemorating UN Standard Minimum Rules, renamed Mandela Rules, for the treatment of offenders in prisons.
Speaking on the occasion, Hashim Elhussien, Commissioner-General, Sudan Police, said that Sudan has ensured that the Mandela Rules are applied, across all detention facilities, in the treatment and care of offenders. He further emphasized that a strategic plan was being implemented, with one key component being the establishment of four modern reform centres, including Nyala Reform Complex in South Darfur, which is currently under construction.
Major-General Hatim Elnour , Director-General, Prisons and Reform, promised to re-open the Prisons College to enable training of specialist officers before their deployment to various prison institutions.
On her part, Francoise Simard, Head, UNAMID Rule of Law, highlighted the Mission’s support towards the realization of the aspirations of the Mandela Rules, in relation to peace and security in Darfur. She indicated that the rules were of significant value and influence as they guide the development of prison policies and practice, thereby providing a roadmap for prison reforms.
Additionally, on the day, the Government of Sudan released 1,616 prisoners to help decongest prisons.
UNAMID’s Rule of Law section has partnered with the Government of Sudan General Directorate of Prisons and Reform and other relevant stakeholders, especially the UN Country Team on significant interventions aimed at improving prison conditions in Darfur.
These include advisory and mentoring activities to enhance management and operational capacity of prisons; technical support for the development and implementation of the Darfur Prisons Five-Year Strategic Plan; capacity-building of prison staff; livelihood skills training ventures for rehabilitation and reintegration of inmates into society upon release; small infrastructure upgrades to improve prison conditions; and development of key strategic documents towards professionalizing the existing system.
Additionally, senior Sudanese prison management staff have been facilitated in attending international and regional conferences, such as the Annual International Corrections and Prison Association (ICPA) and the African Corrections Services Association (ACSA). In fact, at the last ACSA conference, held in Kigali, Rwanda, Sudan was elected as Vice Chair, ACSA - Northern African Region.
There are 13 prison institutions in Darfur—seven in North Darfur, three in South Darfur and one each in West, East and Central Darfur. Currently, the overall prisoner population is 2,878, 18 of whom are at the juvenile detention center in El Fasher, North Darfur.