Covid-19 Pandemic: Prevention of inhuman treatment of persons deprived of their liberty

Persons deprived of their liberty are, for various reasons, particularly at risk in the situation that arise from the Covid-19 pandemic. This concerns persons detained in institutions such as prisons, police custody facilities, immigration detention centres, mental healthcare institutions and child welfare institutions, to give a few examples.

For these individuals, the pandemic itself, as well as measures taken to contain it, can result in isolation, decreased access to health services and lack of contact with next of kin, including children, siblings and parents. In addition, many persons deprived of their liberty belong to groups at risk of serious illness from covid-19, due to their age or underlying diseases.

The Parliamentary Ombudsman’s National Preventive Mechanism pays close attention to the challenges faced by persons deprived of their liberty in this situation, and how the relevant institutions work to solve those challenges.

We keep in touch with civil society organisations working on the rights of those deprived of their liberty and with relevant authorities and oversight bodies in the health, correctional services and child welfare sectors. Our task is to remind the State of its responsibility to ensure that no one deprived of their liberty is subjected to inhuman treatment.

The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) and the UN Subcommittee for the Prevention of Torture (SPT) have made statements relating to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Read the statement from the CPT here

Read the statement from the SPT here

The World Health Organization (WHO) has also issued a statement, available here

As well has the UN Hight Commissionner for Human Rights (OHCHR), available here

Other sources:

Penal Reform International Briefing paper

Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) Information Hub on Covid-19

Danish Institute against torture (DIGNITY): Synthesis of global guidanse and reccomendations on how to prevent and manage COVID-19 in prisons.