International Women’s Day 2021: making justice fair, accessible and safer for women

Friday, March 5, 2021

For the first time, 41 oversight bodies from across the globe joined with the APT on International Women’s Day to call for sustained government action to protect the rights of women in prison.

The historic statement coordinated by the APT – the first time such a broad range of national and local oversight bodies have come together on this issue – addresses the risks of discrimination, abuse and ill-treatment faced by women in prison worldwide.

Monitoring the situation and needs of women in prison is a key part of the work carried out by National and Local Preventive Mechanisms, established under the OPCAT, to uphold the dignity of persons deprived of liberty.

This work has been especially crucial during COVID-19, as restrictions implemented to contain the virus in places of detention have had highly detrimental impacts on women. As the statement notes, many women in prison have been left isolated, emotionally affected and without material support following the suspension of family visits and restrictions on daily activities.

The statement draws on the vast experience of these oversight bodies to identify the risks faced by women in prison, to document their situation through prison visits and private interviews, and to make recommendations for changes in law, policy and practice.

Ten years after the adoption of the UN Bangkok Rules, we jointly call for a renewed commitment by all States to uphold the dignity, health, safety and security of all women in prison and to establish alternatives to detention for women in contact with the law.

The statement is part of the APT’s year-long campaign to make justice fairer and safer for women.

Read the full statement on our website.