Safeguarding prisoners’ dignity on the long walk to freedom

18 July 2018 13:00 - 14:30
Safeguarding prisoners’ dignity on the long walk to freedom

On 18 July, the ICRC is marking Nelson Mandela International Day with the launch of a new edition of 'A Human Rights Approach to Prison Management' by the Institute for Criminal Policy Research, Birkbeck, University of London. This Handbook, which has been translated into 19 languages, is used by the ICRC and many others around the world.

During the launch, author Professor Andrew Coyle will reflect on developments in the use of imprisonment worldwide over the last 20 years, focusing on topical issues such as the use of highly restrictive forms of detention for certain categories of prisoner, including solitary confinement. Detention experts from the ICRC and Geneva-based international organizations, the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) will respond, and there will be space for questions and discussion.



 See also Andrew Coyle's article on current trends and practices in the use of imprisonment.


In December 2015 the UN General Assembly adopted revised United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, to be known as the Nelson Mandela Rules in honour of the contribution of South Africa to the Rules' development and of the legacy of the late President of South Africa, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, who spent 27 years in prison. In the accompanying resolution, the General Assembly decided to extend the scope of Nelson Mandela International Day as an opportunity to promote humane conditions of imprisonment, raise awareness about prisoners being a continuous part of society and to value the work of prison staff as a social service of particular importance.



  • Andrew Coyle, Emeritus Professor of Prison Studies at Kings College, University of London
  • Barbara Bernath, Secretary General of the Association for the Prevention of Torture
  • Matt Pollard, Senior Legal Adviser to the International Commission of Jurists
  • Sara Snell, Prison System Adviser to the International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Valérie Belchior-Bellino Captier, Detention Nutrition Adviser to the ICRC