The COVID-19 and Persons Deprived of Liberty Information Hub and Collaborative Platform
The COVID-19 pandemic crisis creates a new global challenge for public to cope with the massive flow of information. In this new environment, accurate information on measures being taken by authorities or good practices adopted by specific countries can be difficult to find, analyse and compare.
The APT responded to this challenge by launching the COVID-19 and Persons Deprived of Liberty Information Hub. The hub is a digital one-stop centre for different types of information pertaining to persons deprived of liberty that includes news reports, guidelines, legislations as well as tools or practical measures. Furthermore, the hub is designed to increase the accessibility and visibility of targeted information that could benefit actors working in detention oversight, criminal justice system, penitentiary system, psychosocial support and social rehabilitation. Information can be searched according to specific categories: language of information, country, relevant body or institution, specific detention issue, type of place of deprivation of liberty and persons in situations of vulnerability.
The APT introduces Co:Lab., a collaborative data systematisation platform to enhance the quality of information gathering and initiate other smart partnerships around the information hub. The platform enables a broad network of APT’s partners in different regions to contribute information and build cooperation that are inspired or informed by the information hub.
The Information Hub now contains several important guidelines:
- The Advice of the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture to States Parties and National Preventive Mechanisms relating to the Coronavirus Pandemic
- The Interim Guidance by OHCHR/WHO Inter-Agency Standing Committee "COVID-19: Focus on Persons Deprived of their Liberty"
- The CPT “Statement of principles relating to the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty”
- The WHO Interim Guidelines on “Preparedness, prevention and control of COVID-19 in prisons and other places of detention”
- The Penal Reform International paper on “Healthcare and human rights of people in prison”
In addition to the guidelines, the hub also captures the following trends across the world:
- Oversight bodies have to adjust or suspend their visits to detention places in respond to nationwide quarantine or curfew measures.
- Suspension of physical contact with family demands prison, aged care facilities, psychiatric institutions and rehabilitation centres to rethink or modify the way their residents communicate with families and the outside world.
- There is a growing movement towards allowing early release for prisoners serving their sentence across the world. This can be seen in countries such as Iran, Bahrain and Indonesia with the measure still debated in some contexts.
- In Latin America, Africa and Asia, there are reports of excessive use of force by the law enforcement in implementing quarantine and curfew measures.
To learn more about how the pandemic is affecting persons deprived of liberty around the world, please visit the information hub. Should you wish to contribute to Co:Lab, please do not hesitate to contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org).