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Uganda strengthens capacity of Prison Officers to address violent extremism in prisons

Kampala, 24 January 2020  -   The Uganda Prisons Service hosted a workshop to develop and integrate preventing and countering violent extremism specific training courses into six modules of the Prison Academy and Teaching School Basic Curriculum.

This approach will institutionalize the training, ensure long-term results and contribute to a whole agency-wide approach in the management of violent extremist prisoners.

The workshop was held under the global initiative, Supporting the management of violent extremist prisoners and the prevention of radicalization to violence in prisons, which is a four-year joint initiative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT), implemented in close coordination with the United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (UNCTED). 

It is co-funded by the European Union, the United Nations Office on Counter Terrorism (UNOCT) and the Netherlands.

Mr. Wilson Francis Magomu, Commissioner of Prisons Custodial Duties, Safety and Security, Uganda Prisons Service, who is coordinating the implementation of the global initiative in Uganda, said that "Given the growing threat of radicalization and violence in prisons, and the fact that prisoners can serve as incubators for radicalization to violence and recruitment, there is a strong need to strengthen resilience against violent extremism and radicalization to violence in prisons while respecting human rights in the Ugandan context".

Mr. Henk Jan Bakker, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Uganda emphasized that "Any efforts in prisons to address violent extremism must not lead to undermining fundamental human rights to which all persons, including violent extremist prisoners, are entitled."

Mr. Amado Philip de Andrés, Representative, UNODC Regional Office on Eastern Africa, commended "Uganda for its strong commitment to prevent radicalization to violence in prisons and expressed sincere gratitude for the constructive co-operation with the Uganda Prisons Service, European Union and other United Nations entities".

Workshop participants reiterated that the development of specific training courses on preventing and countering violent extremism in prisons will enhance competence of prison staff to address the emerging threat and implement security and disengagement interventions in full compliance with the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treat of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules) and other relevant international standards and norms, including from a gender perspective.

Senior management of the Prison Academy and Teaching School underlined that good prison management and further reforms of the prison service of Uganda are crucial to address the manifestations of violent extremism in the prison context and called for a holistic approach that is embedded in the broader prison context.

For further information

Global Initiative on the management of Violent Extremist Prisoners and the Prevention of Radicalization to Violence

UNODC Handbook on the Management of Violent Extremist Prisoners and the Prevention of Radicalization to Violence