The European Union would like to thank the panelists for their contributions and the OHCHR for the preparation of the report.
The COVID19 pandemic has made today’s discussion even timelier. In the light of the pandemic the High Commissioner as well as special procedure mandate holders have stressed the need to take urgent action to protect the health and safety of people in detention and other closed facilities.
Measures taken to contain the pandemic should not undermine the fundamental rights of detained people.
Since 2015 the Nelson Mandela Rules have considerably improved the international standards for the treatment of prisoners. They reflect the minimum requirements to be met by a humane prison system today. Reaching universal consensus on the rules was a major achievement. It is now of great importance to ensure their implementation at the national level.
This year also marks the tenth anniversary of the Bangkok Rules, which overcame long-standing shortcomings in the standards providing for the specific characteristics and needs of women offenders and prisoners. Their consensus adoption acknowledged that women in the criminal justice system do have gender-specific characteristics and needs.
However, the EU remains concerned by the continued rise of the global female prison population. As pointed out by the High Commissioner´s report, country-specific research is needed to explain why women are increasingly imprisoned.
The COVID19 pandemic exacerbated the global problem of overcrowding and overincarceration. Finally, we would like to ask the panellists: What can states do to address this problem and how can technical assistance support national efforts?