Training Manual on Human Rights Monitoring

By Office Of The High Commissioner For Human Rights | Go to book overview

Chapter IX
VISITS TO PERSONS
IN DETENTION

Key concepts
Persons in detention are protected by a number of international human rights standards.
Torture, corporal punishment, prolonged solitary confinement, punishment by placement
in a dark cell, and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment are
always prohibited. In addition, specific rights are set with regard to arrest and legal
procedures, pre-trial detention, physical conditions of detention, discipline, supervision of
detention, and other.The UN human rights field operation should:
ascertain whether the ICRC is already visiting persons in detention in the country of
operation;
always try to coordinate their prison visits with the ICRC;
be aware of ICRC methods of work from which some basic methodological principles
relating to such visits can be inferred.
In visiting persons in detention, a team of several HROs (usually including a
doctor/medical staff) should:
talk to the prison director;
tour the entire facility;
be able to visit all detainees freely and without witnesses, although in practice may
talk only to some detainees;
talk to other prison officials;
have a final interview with the prison director;
within a few days prepare a confidential summary report for the prison director of the
conclusions and understandings established during the visit;
prepare a confidential report (often relating to several facilities) to the Government;
repeat the visit to the prisoners and particularly those whom they have seen in
previous visits; and
be able to visit all places of detention in the country.

-127-

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