Mozambique Mozambique: Mission on Prisons and Conditions of Detention, 2001

Dates:4 - 14 April 2001
Session:30th Ordinary Session
13 - 27 October 2001. Banjul, Gambia
Special Mechanism:Special Rapporteur on Prisons and Conditions of Detention
Commissioner: Vera Mlanguzwa Chirwa

Dr Vera Chirwa, Special Rapporteur (SR) on prisons and conditions of detention in Africa visited places of detention in Mozambique between 4''' and 14'h April 2001. Her mission followed a first visit to Mozambique by Prof. E.V.O. Dankwa, then Special Rapporteur, between 14'h and 24' December 1997. The objectives of the second visit were:
  • To assess the implementation of the recommendations made by the SR in 1997 and the conditions of detention in Mozambique;
  • To document the impact on the conditions of detention of the floods that Mozambique faced in February 2000 and;
  • To express the ACHPR's sympathy to Mozambique for the hardships caused by the floods and promote the African Charter on Human and Peoples' rights.
The Special Rapporteur was accompanied by Dr. Alpha Oumar Sankarella Diallo, Physician in chief, Security and Prison Services of Guinea;Audrey Pascaud, Assistant, France; Maria José Anastacio, Interpreter, Portugal.

Recommendations
 
General recommendations
  1. Prison rehahilitation should be intensified and the building of prisons started years ago should be completed to allow for the transfer of prisoners to more humane places. All efforts should be made to ensure that prisoners are detained in purpose-built premises.
  2. Measures towards the separation of different categories of prisoners should be undertaken as overcrowding is brought down.
  3. Sleeping conditions should be as good as possible for all prisoners and damp-free sleeping accommodation should be ensured.
  4. The quantity and quality of food and containers should be improved.
  5. The shower, toilets and washing facilities should be restored to a good state of repair and maintained in a hygienic condition in all places where problems were observed.
  6. The efforts to increase the number of work and vocational training places should be intensified.
  7. A better range of activities should be offered to any remand prisoner staying for a lengthy period.
  8. More prisons' activity programmes (including education, sport and recreational activities) should be Introduced as overcrowding is brought down.
  9. Ventilation should be improved in establishments where problems were observed.
  10. The visiting conditions should be reviewed in order to ensure that prisoners are able to receive visits and that families do not have to pay guards.
  11. The new prison policy should investigate the possibility of setting up a national independent monitoring mechanism outside the prison administration that could visit prisons regularly and make all necessary recommendations
Health recommendations
  1. Doctors should be recruited for the larger prisons in full-time positions and existing para-medical staff should be strengthened to ensure attendance by general practitioners amounting to the equivalent of the presence of a full-time doctor; assistance by an appropriate number of qualified nurses; and ready access for prisoners to a dentist.
  2. Renovation of existing health infrastructures should be intensified - extension and creation of health mfrastructuies in the large prisons that do not have such facilities. These structures should include observation beds and an isolation room for contagious diseases. The prison directors may also order that prisoners suffering from an infectious disease, or who are a danger to themselves or others, be accommodated in a special cell. Such a measure is to be lifted as soon as the reason that caused its imposition disappears; if that reason persists, the prisoner concerned is to be transferred to a specialist State hospital for treatment. All other complementary measures should be taken so as to provide full 24-hour medical services.
  3. AIDS education programmes in prisons should be intensified. Furthermore, voluntary testing for AIDS in prisoners should be encouraged and suitable structures should be put in place for the psychological and medical support of prisoners who decide to take this test, HIV positive prisoners, and those already suffering from AIDS.
  4. The position of Head Prison Doctor should be created who would be an integral part of national prison management within the Department of liist ice and Home Office whose responsibilities would include the in ',anon of periodical inspection visits to prisons to examine how ti Lit prison medical services are functioning.
Young people
  1. Specialised units for juveniles should be developed and in the meantime strict separation between adults and young people should be maintained.
  2. Young persons in custody should be provided with a Rill regime of educational, recreational and other purposeful activities. Physical education should constitute a significant element of that regime.Moreover, the I tssigned to units accommodating juveniles should be carefully chosen and, more specifically, be persons capable of guiding and motivating young people.
  3. First young offenders and petty young offenders should be given a chance not to go to prison and diversion measures be implemented to allow them continue their education. Mozambique could develop exchanges with Malawi about juvenile justice.
Foreigners
  1. Persons detained under the Aliens legislation should be separated from other prisoners.
  2. Embassies should be systematically informed about the detention of their nationals.
  3. Appropriate steps should be taken to minimise the difficulties of communication between prison staff and foreign prisoners (preparation and translation into relevant foreign languages of a leaflet describing the routine and regime of the prison, the rights and responsibilities of prisoners and staff, complaints and disciplinary procedures; translation of the most commonly used expressions between prisoners and staff).
  4. Deportation and transfer of willing prisoners should be organised more systematically.
Women
  1. The highest priority should be given to the relocation of the male pnsoners found in Moatize Women Prison and the relocation of women prisoners found not to be segregated in other Mozambican prisons. Separate sections or even prisons should be strictly observed.
  2. Expectant or breast-feeding mothers should not be sent to prison.
Overcrowding
  1. A very high priority should be given to measures to reduce overcrowding in the Mozambican prison system.
  2. A maximum occupancy level should be established for each place of detention.
  3. Suspended sentences, conditional release, remission and community service should be promoted and implemented to reduce the prison population and improve the rehabilitation of offenders
  4. Police should speed up with the screening process so that those found not involved in any crime should be released from prison.
  5. Illegal remand detention should he reduced and more prisoners should be bailed.
Disciplinary measures
Disciplinary measures should not amount to inhuman and degrading treatment.

NGOs and other civil society organisations
Collaboration with civil society should be developed.

Staff
A priority should be given to human rights education for officers and guards of all ranks and in-house training of prison staff.

In addition, there are some recommendations with regard to specific prisons and other detention facilities.

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