Revision of the UN Standard Minimum Rules? APT's position

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The forthcoming intergovernmental expert meeting at the UN Office of Drugs and Crime, to be held in January 2012, is a real opportunity to review, and if possible, revise the UN Standard Minimum rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.

The Standard Minimum Rules were originally drafted in 1955 to set a baseline for basic humane conditions in detention. APT encourages all States to consider how to best convey these important standards into real protection for all persons deprived of liberty.

Since the Standard Minimum Rules were agreed, there have been significant changes to prison populations and types of detainee. Yet though the language of the Standard Minimum Rules is outdated, the Rules remain an important tool for improving conditions in detention. Often the Rules are the only set of standards detainees see in detention, and several National Preventive Mechanisms and other monitoring bodies make recommendations to improve standards of detention using standards described in the Standard Minimum Rules. The forthcoming meeting is therefore a good opportunity to ask how States are transforming these standards into practice and to recommend that States take practical steps to improve their implementation.

Revision of the UN Standard Minimum Rules? APT's Position