July 30, 2020
We examined the living and health conditions of inmates and the extent of adherence to the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (SMRs). The monitoring and field visits team of the National Human Rights Committee started the second phase of the special visits to follow up action on the precautionary measures taken by the state to contain the spread of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, where the team held meetings with the administration of correctional and penal institutions “remand centres and central prisons”, Capital Security, Research and Follow-up Department, and Human Rights Department at the Ministry of Interior.
Dr. Muhammad bin Saif Al-Kuwari, Vice President of the National Human Rights Committee and head of the monitoring and field visits team said: This phase comes as an extension to the first phase that the team undertook, which included many relevant authorities following up the precautionary measures taken by the state to confront the pandemic and limit its spread, noting that the visits of follow-up phase will include all the bodies included in the first phase, pointing out that there are new bodies that will be covered in the second phase related to the right to education and the right to practice religious rites.
Al-Kuwari added: The meeting discussed with officials the measures taken to protect inmates from the Coronavirus epidemic, the available medical equipment and the number of the medical examinations carried out, in addition to the plans prepared by the penal institutions to provide the necessary instructions and adequate awareness of means of protection and prevention from the epidemic, pointing out that the monitoring and field visits team assessed the extent of adherence the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (SMRs) including living conditions, in addition to the psychological wellbeing of detainees, and the activities that are permitted to be practiced including recreational, educational and sports activities.
It is noteworthy that the National Human Rights Committee formed a monitoring team and field visits to follow up action on the precautionary measures taken by the state to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic, as the team began its meetings with the concerned authorities and quarantine centers in the first phase last April.