The global pandemic of COVID-19 is continuing to affect the world at large, but those vulnerable are the most affected. In wake of the COVID-19 crisis, several nations have freed the prisoners of non-serious crimes with an intent to decongest the over-crowded detention centres.
In lieu with the same, several leaders of various United Nations agencies on May 13, have urged the governments to take “all appropriate public health measures” to keep prisoners away from the threat of COVID-19.
The heads of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the UN agency leading the fight against HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) said in a signed statement, “We emphasize the need to minimize the occurrence of the disease in these settings and to guarantee that adequate preventive measures are in place to ensure a gender-responsive approach and preventing large outbreaks of COVID-19”.
The UNODC’s Ghada Fathi Waly; WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus; Winnie Byanyima of UNAIDS; and High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet, also emphasized the need to “establish an up-to-date coordination system that brings together health and justice sectors, keeps prison staff well-informed and guarantees that all human rights in these settings are respected”.