Amnesty International calls for the release of prisoners amidst COVID-19 crisis

A human rights watchdog has requested authorities in Sub-Saharan Africa to take actions pertaining to protect the prisoners from the global pandemic of COVID-19.

The Amnesty International has called for the African Governments to guarantee access to healthcare and sanitation in all the prison facilities and even demanded the release of the prisoners of conscience, as well as women and girls who are in detention with dependent children or those who are pregnant and review cases of pre-trial detention.

Samira Daoud, Amnesty International’s Director for West and Central Africa said, “As COVID-19 spreads across Sub-Saharan Africa, the severe overcrowding seen in many prisons and detention centers risks becoming a public health catastrophe, especially given the general lack of health care and sanitation”.

He added, “As well as being the right thing to do, releasing prisoners of conscience immediately and unconditionally would free up space in these facilities and help to protect prisoners and staff from the virus”.

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