IHCHR at International Electronic Seminar on Overseeing Detention Places: We are Concerned about Situation of Prisons & the Prevention of our Monitoring Visits by Iraqi government and the Lack of Alternative Means to Monitor them

The IHCHR has participated in the international electronic seminar held by the Arab Network for National Human Rights Institutions and in cooperation with the International Anti-Torture Association on “overseeing places of deprivation from the principle of ” not hurting ” in theory to practice” during the Covid 19 pandemic, where the Commission was represented by two members of the Board of Commissioners, Mr. Thamer Al-Shammari and Dr. Ali Al-Bayati.

During the seminar, the IHCHR representatives touched on the most important problems facing Iraqi prisons and detention centers such as overcrowding, poor infrastructure and health services , as well as the inability to apply social distancing in them, and therefore there is fear that they will turn into hotbed for Coronavirus.

The Commission also praised the measures taken by the Supreme Judicial Council and the Iraqi government for the release of approximately (16,000) accused person and (1,000) sentenced, including (50) juveniles, for the purpose of reducing overcrowding and addressing the issue, in addition to the communication between the inmates and families through contacts, although not being circulated in all prisons.

At the same time, the Commission stressed in the seminar that the prison supervision and detention center is a legal power within the functions of the commission and stipulated in its Law No. 53 of 2008, but it was taken from it by the government committee concerned to combat Corona at the beginning of the health crisis in Iraq, where the Commission considers that the procedure, even in order to maintain the safety of inmates and employees, but finding an alternative to this oversight is very important, such as communicating through contacts and social media periodically between IHCHR teams and inmates, detainees to prevent abuse.

The Commission has confirmed, through its representatives in the seminar, that the IHCHR has demanded the competent authorities, from the beginning , to give this file the importance and not neglect it, whether on the level of epidemiological examination and diagnosis or treatment with isolation and other procedures of sterilization and preventive means.

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