6 April 2020 - United Arab Emirates - In response to the rapid global spread of COVID-19, and in line with the UNODC commitment to the realization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development leaving no one behind, UNODC Office for the Gulf Cooperation Council Region (OGCCR) and the Drug Prevention and Health Branch (DHB), in close collaboration with the Ministry of Interior of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), last week hosted a three-day national workshop on measures to prevent and control the spread of infections, including HIV, viral hepatitis, TB and COVID-19, in prison.
The online and interactive workshop was attended by 20 participants from the Department of Human Rights Commission, the General Directorate of Punitive and Corrective Institutions and the Department of Human Rights Commission at the level of all seven Emirates.
Dr. Hatem Aly, UNODC Representative for the Gulf Cooperation Council Region, and Dr. Ehab Salah, UNODC Advisor on Prisons and HIV, HIV/AIDS Section, DHB, presented the international standards of health and human
rights for people in prison and recommended measures to prevent and manage communicable diseases including COVID-19 in prison settings.
Brigadier Mohamed Al-Shehi, Director of the Human Rights Commission at the Ministry of Interior expressed his gratitude to OGCCR for its usual immediate responsiveness and assured that this workshop will support and complement national efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19 in prison settings.
This week, the workshop is being replicated for senior management of prisons in UAE, with the Director General of Prisons in attendance. Technical guidance and tools regarding COVID-19 provided by UNODC will be disseminated among all corrective and punitive institutions at the national level to raise awareness among officers and save the lives of detainees, prison staff and health care providers.
The delivery of this workshop amid the COVID-19 pandemic showcases the strong partnership between UNODC OGCCR and the Ministry of Interior of UAE, and contributes to SDG3: Good Health and Well-Being, SDG16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions and SDG17: Partnerships for the Goals.
For further information on prevention and control of COVID-19 and HIV in prison see:
WHO - Interim Guidance 15 March 2020 - Preparedness, prevention and control of COVID-19 in prisons and other places of detention
COVID-19: Prevention and Control for People Living in Prison
COVID-19: Prevention and Control for People Working in Prison
Policy Brief. HIV Prevention, Treatment and Care in Prisons and Other Closed Settings: A Comprehensive Package of Interventions