Workshop on Penitentiary Infrastructures Underway in Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa November 06/2018 A workshop aimed at exchanging best practices, networking on topics such as prison overcrowding, planning and design, maintenance and the food chain in English-speaking African countries kicked off here today.

Briefing the media, ICRC Delegation for African Union Deputy Head Diane M. Kabeya said best practices on prison administration will be shared in the workshop.

“We have countries which have shown best practices in terms of prison building, food chain access to sanitation and water. So, we have seen best practices especially in this country (Ethiopia) where there was a program of rehabilitation of prisons that abided by the international standards,” Kabeya stated.

Africa has the benefit of having adopted certain rules like the “Mandela Rule” which basically gives guidance for member states of AU for proper detention based on sex, gender, age and reason, she pointed out.

The rule offers crucial guidance for member countries to comply with international standards.

According to Kabeya, ICRC is convinced that guaranteeing respect for the dignity of persons deprived of liberty and facilitating the work of prison officers in various countries through the establishment by law of national penitentiary management standards would help alleviate the situation.

Ethiopia Federal Prison Administration Director-General, Jemal Abaso said the workshop will create capacity and awareness on ways of managing prisons.

“As we know, there is public grievance in the handling of prisoners in our country. I hope the penitentiary workshop will create capacity and awareness for us,” he added.

Jemal stated that discussions were held with inmates on how to improve the rights of prisoners and the services as part of the ongoing reform on national penitentiary management system.

Prison administrators from Oromia, Amhara, Tigray, SNNPR, and Harari regional states are participating in the workshop.

The three-day workshop is being attended by participants from Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda and Gambia.

A similar workshop was held last year for French-speaking African countries, it was indicated.