Rights of prisoners emphasized when UN Police trained Bor Corrections Officers

unmiss south sudan jonglei state bor corrections officers un police unpol capacity building human rights prisoners gender-based violence

Corrections Officers in Bor in the process of learning more about the rights of prisoners.

9 Aug 2022

Rights of prisoners emphasized when UN Police trained Bor Corrections Officers

Mach Samuel/Filip Andersson

JONGLEI- Human rights are universal. They encompass every single one of us, including the women and men who find themselves in prison.

Explaining the existence and importance of protecting the rights of inmates was the main focus of a three-day capacity building forum recently organized in Bor by UN Police Officers serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

Bringing all South Sudanese Corrections Officers up to speed is, as admitted by Major General Isaac Mabil Choul, Director of National Prison Services in Jonglei State, a work in process.

“We are still transitioning from guerilla-like rules, but as our knowledge about correct procedures grow, we are gradually approaching international standards for treatment of inmates,” he said.

The substance of such international standards was thoroughly discussed by the 50 participating officers, 24 of whom were women, and so were a handful of domestic laws related to the rights and stipulated protection of prisoners.

Prison riots and instances of fighting between groups of inmates have not always been correctly handled, sometimes resulting in both vulnerable prisoners and wardens ending up threatened or even injured. For this reason, conflict management and how to go about keeping both staff and inmates were parts of the technical advice offered by the UN Police Officers who conducted the training.

“Modern laws grant prisoners the right to decent living conditions and to be protected when there are tensions and a risk of violence breaking out,” said Major General Priscilla Nyankot Kuot, Director of Gender Affairs within the National Prison Services, who also praised the inclusion of a gender perspective during the workshop.

The fact that gender-based violence, of a sexual nature or not, is a crime wherever it takes place, also when behind bars, was consistently emphasized throughout the training.

“It is essential that prison officials understand the human rights implications involved in law enforcement practices. We want and need Corrections Officers to become good ambassadors of human rights and the protection of all civilians, both inside prisons and in their communities,” said UNMISS Police Advisor Paskazia Raymond as the capacity building session concluded.