ARASA Convenes Regional Meeting on HIV, TB and Human Rights in Prisons

Posted by ARASA on February 9, 2015

The Regional Dialogue on HIV, TB and Human Rights in Prisons took place on 5 and 6 February at the Aviator Hotel in Johannesburg South Africa. The convening brought together various stakeholders to share in-country good practices and functional models in addressing health and human rights issues in prisons in southern and eastern Africa, with a specific focus on improving the management of HIV and TB. The meeting also sought to develop and prioritise a common regional advocacy strategy, which will aid in promoting the adoption and domestication of the SADC and UNODC Minimum Standards for Prisons. Participants of the meeting identified common advocacy issues with regards to HIV, TB and human rights in prison settings, in order to scale up current national and regional level advocacy efforts.

The 27 participants hailed from Southern and East Africa and included ARASA partners, the judiciary, CSOs and representatives from various national prisons services. Notable speakers and presenters included Justice Oagile Dingake from Botswana who spoke about the role of the judiciary in protecting prisoners’ health rights and Justice Kenan Manda from Malawi who offered a profound insight on the issue of overcrowding and its impact on prison health. Other speakers included Godfrey Malembeka from Prisons Care and Counselling Association (PRISCCA), FelistusMotimedi from Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA), Salum Chambuso from Inmate Rehabilitation and Welfare Services Tanzania (IRaWS), Emily Keehn from Sonke Gender Justice, Richard Shilamba from CHESO, Nudhar Bhadoo from PILS, Mauritius, Anneke Meerkotter from the Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC), Nduru Gichamba from KELIN and Diana Rutabingwa from the Uganda Human Rights Commission. Speakers and participants highlighted the need to formulate strategies to deal with prison conditions that hinder the achievement of “highest attainable standard of health in prisons” and tackled issues such as the unavailability of condoms, sexual violence and rape, neglect of children in prisons, outdated laws and overcrowding as a result of dysfunctional justice systems.

The meeting was also tweeted live on our Twitter page, where you can follow us on @_ARASAcomms.

To download presentations from the meeting, please click here