BUJUMBURA November 14th (ABP) – The “solidarity with prisoners and their families (NTABARIZA-SPF)” association in partnership with UNDP, the Embassy of Belgium and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) closed on Tuesday November 13, 2019, the training workshop of staff of the prison administration of Bujumbura (Mpimba Central Prison), on a general recommendation to respect the rights of detainees and the administration of justice.

NTABARIZA’s consultant, Mr. Maurice Simbarakiye, who gave a presentation on “Women in the prison world” said that women in prison constitute a group with specific biological and gender-related needs. He added that some women prisoners are particularly vulnerable because of their position in society and their cultural roles. He did not forget to point out that the specific needs of some women may be neglected in prison, in particular because they represent a minority category of women inmates. He said that every effort must be made to meet the specific dietary needs of pregnant women in prisons, who must rely on a high-protein diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables. He said it would be better to avoid doing medical examinations to a handcuffed woman.

According to Mr. Simbarakiye, incarcerated women must have access to the necessary sanitary napkins during the period of menstruation, and that the women in detention environment must have adequate sanitary facilities and water to meet all needs for their hygiene. Detained women have the right to well-equipped housing and a balanced diet, and they must also be protected against physical, sexual or psychological violence.

The expert also clarified that when it is an issue of separating the woman with her child, it is necessary to prepare the mother and the place of reception of the child. Women in prisons have the right to equal access to activities such as access to a full program of motivating activities, including crafts, training, education and sport on equal terms with men.

The legal representative of NTABARIZA, Mr. Jean Marie Nshimirimana, said on his part that among the major challenges raised by the prison administration of Mpimba to fully respect the rights of detainees, there are inadequate places of comfort, the lack of doctors while in this environment there are various pathologies, including diseases of the eyes, tooth decay and others that cannot be treated at the health center of Mpimba. Mr. Nshimirimana also said that the beneficiaries of the training also raised the challenges related to material and financial means insufficient to carry out their activities, including the reintegration of children born in prison at the age of 3 in their families that are demanding a lot of resources, sewing and carpentry workshops that need to be equipped again and others. The legal representative of NTABARIZA took that opportunity to make a strong appeal to State and non-State actors to review how to work together to address all the challenges that haunt the prison environment.

Some beneficiaries of the training told the check by ABP that they have gained a lot in respect for the rights of detainees and how to deal with misunderstandings between the prison administration, the prison police and the detainees, arguing that the inmates are also difficult to manage.

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