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Côte d'Ivoire: Workshop on improving prison management

03-10-2013 News Release 13/163

Abidjan (ICRC) – Officers in charge of the country's prisons and representatives of government ministries are taking part in a workshop from 3 to 4 October organized jointly by the Ministry of Justice, Human Rights and Civil Liberties and by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Participants at the workshop, the aim of which is the introduction of practical measures by the wardens themselves, will enter into discussions and exchange ideas that should lead to recommendations and to the development of tools providing the basis for better management of a prison's nutritional surveillance, hygiene, infrastructure maintenance and budget.

"We hope that this workshop – which falls within the framework of our ongoing dialogue with the Ivorian authorities on improving conditions of detention, and which follows a workshop held in January – will succeed in finding concrete ways of achieving this end," said Georges Comninos, head of the ICRC regional delegation in Abidjan. "The workshop should also help wardens consolidate their budget-management skills."

"The workshop is taking place just when it has been decided to release some 3,000 detainees, of approximately 10,000 in the country, to tackle the problem of overcrowding in prisons," said Mr Coulibaly, head of prison affairs at the justice ministry. "Nevertheless, because problems relating to prison infrastructure and management persist, the participants will be striving to find ways of improving the treatment of detainees."

Since January, ICRC delegates have gone to 56 places of detention throughout the country on 150 different occasions to visit more than 9,000 detainees and verify that they are treated humanely and with respect for their dignity, whatever the reasons for their detention. Detainees arrested in connection with the post-election crisis or charged with offences against State security, as well as women and children, receive special attention.

In addition, medicines and medical supplies have been distributed to around a dozen prison health facilities. The ICRC has also helped make care available for more than 400 detainees, some of whom have been treated for beriberi, and for 226 other detainees suffering from acute malnutrition. Three prisons have received food aid.

The ICRC also renovated kitchens and sewerage systems in six prisons and carried out nine disease-vector control campaigns. Finally, hygiene items distributed in 33 places of detention enabled more than 9,200 detainees to maintain a clean environment and practise good personal hygiene.

For further information, please contact:
Pascal Jequier, ICRC Abidjan, tel: +225 09 399 404
Wolde-Gabriel Saugeron, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 31 49 or +41 79 244 64 05