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Philippines: new standards adopted to improve detention conditions

18-11-2010 News Release 10/212

Manila (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has vowed to work with the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) to implement national standards contained in the bureau's new manual for detention facilities.

The BJMP manual was launched on 17 November at the National Summit for Persons Deprived of Liberty at Diamond Hotel. The ICRC welcomed the BJMP for producing the 68-page manual that sets out technical standards relating to the living conditions of detainees in the Philippines.

"One of the main problems tackled with jails authorities are overcrowding and dilapidated structures," said Andres Casal, the ICRC's water and habitat coordinator in the country. "By having national standards, the BJMP provides a framework that stipulates what a dignified detention facility should be – one that meets the needs of inmates in accordance with internationally recognized minimum standards."

"Moreover, because adequate funding will be required to meet the standards, the manual will enable the BJMP to present a more accurate picture of the jail situation and to argue more forcefully that further resources are needed," he added.

The manual results from an initiative started by the ICRC in 2007 to prompt the government agencies concerned to address the consequences of overcrowding in Philippine jails and prisons.

"We will continue to stimulate cooperation and dialogue with all authorities involved on issues of concern," said Jean-Daniel Tauxe, head of the ICRC delegation in Manila. "While we continue to visit people in jails, we also take corrective measures where needed. We will continue this dual approach."

The ICRC conducts visits to people in places of detention all over the world to monitor the conditions in which they are being held.

For further information, please contact:
Allison Lopez, ICRC Manila, tel: +63 908 868 6884
Philippe Stoll, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 31 40 or +41 79 536 92 49