Tag Archives: prison sanitation

India, Nepal: poor sanitation in jails

Prisoners in Orissa state, India and in Sunsari District, eastern Nepal, are being deprived of proper sanitation and safe drinking paper, according to local newspaper reports.

India, Orissa

At a meeting in April 2011 on jail administration, Orissa’s Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik asked officials about sanitation and drinking water arrangements in state prisons. Inspector General of Prisons Pranabindu Acharya said he was making arrangements for aqua guards (water purifiers) in some of the jails. In most of the jails toilet facilities were poor and insufficient for the inmates, officials admitted. With more than 12,000 inmates in 86 jails in the State, overcrowding was a problem in at least 18 jails. In many jails, “conditions are appalling”, especially in tehsil (county) level jails where not even rudimentary conveniences have been provided.

While the Directorate of Prisons has made arrangements to invest 13.7 million rupees (US$ 305,000) for water supply and sanitation in at least 24 jails, the Chief Minister asked for a greater allocation of funds.

Source: The Pioneer, 08 Apr 2011

Nepal, Sunsari

The 524 inmates and staff at the regional jail in Jhumka, Sunsari district, have been deprived of safe drinking water and well-managed toilets.

“The jail administration has made written requests to the jail department and Ministry of Home Affairs several times for managing safe drinking water and constructing well-managed toilets but to no avail,” said jailor Bhojraj Regmi.

Source: Naya Patrika / NGO Forum, 09 Jan 2011

Related news: Human rights: UN investigator tells of horrors and insanitary conditions of world prisons, E-Source, 12 Nov 2009

U.N. rights experts call for proper toilets in prisons

People held in jails and other detention centres around the world frequently have no access to clean toilets; a violation of their basic human rights, three United Nations investigators said Wednesday.

In statements marking World Toilet Day, marked on November 19 since 2001, they said states and governments had the obligation to ensure that all prisoners could enjoy safe sanitation.

“Without it, detention conditions are inhumane, and contrary to the basic human dignity that underpins all human rights,” the investigators — on torture, access to water and sanitation, and the right to the best possible health, declared jointly.

World Toilet Day is promoted by the World Toilet Organization, founded in 2001 by Singapore entrepreneur Jack Sim as a global non-profit network aiming to improve sanitation and public health policies.

“In too many places, detainees in prisons, migrant detention centres, juvenile institutions, psychiatric hospitals and other state-run institutions are forgotten,” said Manfred Nowak, special rapporteur on torture to the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Anand Grover, rapporteur on the right to the highest attainable standard of health, said unsanitary conditions “directly cause many diseases rife in places of detention.

“Access to sanitation is fundamental for a life in dignity, which all people are entitled to,” declared Catarina de Albuquerque, U.N. independent expert on human rights and access to sanitation.

“Even those convicted of heinous crimes must enjoy such basis rights,” she added.

Read the full OHCHR World Toilet Day statement.

Source: Jon Hemming, Reuters, 19 Nov 2009 [based on the UN news press release]

UN investigator tells of horrors and insanitary conditions of world prisons

Inmates at a prison in Uruguay can spend years in “las latas” (tin cans) — small metal boxes where temperatures rise to 60 degrees Celcius. They had to use the water in the toilets for drinking and defecate in plastic bags which they later threw outside their cells.

Those were among the abuses chronicled in a report released by Manfred Nowak, an Austrian human rights lawyer and U.N. special rapporteur on torture and other forms of cruel and inhuman treatment and punishment. Nowak’s report focused on “forgotten prisons” and the treatment of children in the dozens of countries he visited. He said roughly 1 million of the world’s 10 million detainees were children, some as young as 9 or 10 years old.

Nowak notes that in many countries the “police and prison authorities simply do not regard it as their responsibility to provide detainees with the most basic services necessary for survival, let alone for a dignified existence or what human rights instruments call an “adequate standard of living”, i.e., food, water, clothing, a toilet and a proper place to sleep.”

The living conditions of prisoners in Equatorial Guinea and Uruguay were shocking.

“”In Equatorial Guinea, detainees spend several weeks or even months in overcrowded, often dark and filthy police cells with virtually nothing but a concrete floor where they are kept for 24 hours a day. It is the task of their families to bring them water in plastic bottles and food in plastic bags. Since there are no toilets, they must use the same bottles to urinate and the plastic bags to defecate. In most police stations, including the police headquarters in Malabo, plenty of filled and stinking plastic bottles and bags had been thrown through the bars to the corridors and open yards.’

“In Uruguay the situation of accused and convicted children who were held in extremely poor conditions was alarming. The system of detention was based on a punitive approach. Children had no opportunities for education, work or any other rehabilitative activity, and the boys were locked up for up to 22 hours a day in their cells. The sanitary conditions were very poor. There were no toilets in the cells, which sometimes forced detainees to wait for hours for a guard to let them go to the toilet. At the Piedras Home, the detainees had to relieve themselves in bottles and plastic bags, which they threw out of the window, resulting in a repulsive smell around the building.”

Under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, detainees have a right to an
adequate standard of living. This includes cells with sanitary installations “adequate to enable every prisoner to comply with the needs of nature” (rule 12), with “adequate bathing and shower installations” (rule 13) and “with water and with such toilet articles as are necessary for health and cleanliness” (rule 15).

In 2005, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) published a handbook on “Water, sanitation, hygiene and habitat in prisons“.

Nowak said that Iran and most Arab countries, except for Jordan, had denied him access to their prisons.

Watch Manfred Nowak outline the main points of his report.

Source: Louis Charbonneau, Reuters, 20 Oct 2009 ; UN, 20 Oct 2009