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UNODC commemorates Mandela Day in Indonesia, highlighting the need for prison reform and prisoner reintegration

Jakarta (Indonesia), 18 July 2017
- UNODC Indonesia, in collaboration with the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), held an event observing Nelson Mandela International Day in Jakarta. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the late President of South Africa, spent 27 years in prison in the course of his struggle for global human rights, equality, democracy and the promotion of a culture of peace. It was therefore a fitting forum to call for humane conditions of imprisonment and to raise awareness about effectively reintegrating prisoners into the community.

The UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, that were adopted by the First United Nations Congress in 1955, and have served as the global standard for prison management in Member States across the world. Due to advances in international law and correctional science, major updates to the rules were adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015. The updates primarily focused on protecting the inherent dignity of prisoners, but also provide a blueprint for effective prison management.

To honour Nelson Mandela's legacy, the UN General Assembly decided in December 2015, to name the revised UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners the "Nelson Mandela Rules". This year, UNODC used the commemoration to highlight prisons and the need for attention to the conditions of confinement.

Representatives of the Indonesian Government, the international community and civil society organizations, to discussed the work they are doing to promote humane prison conditions and effective inmate rehabilitation programmes. The forum emphasised the positive impact that Mandela's legacy has had on criminal justice, equality and universal human rights. "

The Nelson Mandela Rules honour the legacy of Madiba who was deprived of his freedom because of his struggle for freedom in South Africa and who later became a leading voice for global human rights, equality, democracy and the promotion of a culture of peace" said Johannes Hamman, Counsellor at the Embassy of South Africa. UNODC Country Director, Collie F. Brown, also gave a presentation on the Nelson Mandela Rules and UNODC's work with the Government of Indonesia to ensure that these rules are implemented in Indonesia.

The event also included accounts from current and former inmates, explaining how effective rehabilitation and reintegration programmes have changed their lives.

Members of the media and event attendees noted the importance of providing a platform to discuss the humane treatment of prisoners and the importance of successfully reintegrating former inmates back into society- two ideals that Mandela ardently defended throughout his lifetime.

Click here for more on the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules).