Press Release

IACHR Wraps Up Second Regional Conference on Best Prison Practices

December 12, 2011

Washington, D.C. - The Office of the Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) concluded the Second Regional Conference on Best Practices of Prison Management in the Caribbean, held December 2-3 in Kingston, Jamaica. Participants included the States of the English-speaking Caribbean-Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago-as well as international experts, the International Red Cross (IRC), and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

The conference addressed issues related to incarcerated individuals' rights to medical care and mental health; the prevention of prison violence; disciplinary rules; the personal rehabilitation and social readaptation of inmates; prison legislation and public policy; detention conditions; and corrections staff. In addition, the first day of the event included a panel discussion on the situation of persons deprived of liberty in Jamaica.

In his opening remarks, the IACHR Rapporteur on Persons Deprived of Liberty, Commissioner Rodrigo Escobar Gil, stressed that for the rights of the incarcerated to be respected and guaranteed, it is fundamentally important for all OAS Member States to ratify the American Convention on Human Rights. In the English-speaking Caribbean, the treaty is in effect only in Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, and Suriname.

The papers and published materials produced as part of this event will be published in the near future on the website of the IACHR.

This seminar was promoted and organized by the Inter-American Commission, in conjunction with the Norman Manley Law School in Jamaica, under the Memorandum of Understanding and Institutional Cooperation in effect between the IACHR and that academic institution. The seminar was made possible thanks to the financial support of the Spain Fund for the OAS.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this matter. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 128/11