N° 57/07




Washington, November 19, 2007 — The Rapporteurship on the Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty, of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), has concluded its Latin American seminar on “Best Prison Practices,” which was held November 12-16 in Buenos Aires. Participants included 16 countries, local and international nongovernmental organizations, universities, experts, and officials of the Argentine government, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations.


 During the event, the governments reported on successful prison practices being implemented in their respective countries and shared positive experiences on how to prevent, combat, punish and eradicate poor prison practices and human rights violations in prisons, in order to better confront this important challenge that affects all countries in the region.


Other issues discussed included, among others: prison infrastructure; overpopulation and overcrowding; the separation of categories of inmates; disciplinary systems and punishment; rehabilitation and social reintegration programs; contact with the outside world; basic services such as health and nutrition; prison personnel and training; prison supervision and inspection; and internal security within prisons.


Participants from the different countries worked together to develop a proposal for an ideal “system for best prison practices” to be implemented in Latin America. This will be published throughout the region, along with the presentations of those who participated in the event and a compilation of prison laws in effect in each country.


Records of the seminar will be systematized, published and made available to anyone who is interested on the Web page of the Inter-American Commission.


The seminar was promoted and organized by the IACHR Rapporteurship on the Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty, headed by Commissioner Florentín Meléndez, the Rapporteur on this issue and the current IACHR President. The event also had the support of Argentine institutions such as Ministry of Justice and the National Public Defender’s Office. The IACHR acknowledges the cooperation of Dr. Alberto J.B. Iribarne, Minister of Justice and Human Rights, and Dr. Stella Maris Martínez, Public Defender, as well as the University of Buenos Aires.