Conditions in Irish Prisons are a breach of human rights law IHRC calls for immediate action on Inspector of Prisons’ recommendations

Conditions in Irish Prisons are a breach of human rights law

IHRC calls for immediate action on Inspector of Prisons’ recommendations

The Irish Human Rights Commission (IHRC) today highlighted the appalling conditions in many Irish Prisons in a submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee.

The IHRC provided information to the UN Human Rights Committee in relation to Ireland’s follow-up Report to its 2008 Report on Ireland’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The Irish Government was asked by the UN Committee, as a matter of priority, to provide a progress report within one year on three issues that were of particular concern to the Committee namely, prison conditions, religion and education, and extraordinary rendition.

Dr Maurice Manning, President of the IHRC said that "the IHRC has on numerous occasions stated that the physical conditions in many Irish Prisons are unacceptable, and that some of the conditions amount to inhuman and degrading treatment which is a breach of Ireland’s international human rights obligations. It is a matter of grave concern that in the 12 months since Ireland last reported to the UN Human Rights Committee, overcrowding has reportedly increased to acute levels, increasing the potential for violence among prisoners. There has been no reduction in the degrading practice of ‘slopping out’, in fact the latest figures from the Inspector of Prisons indicate that in February 2009, 521 prisoners in Mountjoy Prison had no in-cell sanitation."

Dr Manning continued "the IHRC supports the assessment of Irish prison conditions by the Inspector of Prisons and calls for the immediate implementation of his recommendations. In his 2008 Annual Report, the Inspector of Prisons stated overcrowding and ‘slopping out’ give rise to inhuman and degrading conditions. In his most recent report on Mountjoy Prison, published last week, the Inspector stated that at present Mountjoy cannot provide safe and secure custody for its prisoners. His report documents severe overcrowding particularly in holding cells, lack of adequate mental health facilities and numerous violent incidents. This report reaffirms the very serious human rights infringements occurring in Irish Prisons, which have also been highlighted by the IHRC in its submission to the UN Human Rights Committee."

ENDS/

For further information, please contact:

Fidelma Joyce

IHRC

Tel: 01 8589601 Mob: 087 783 4939

Notes to the Editor

  • The UN Human Rights Committee (HRC) considered Ireland’s 3rd Periodic Report on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Right (ICCPR) in July 2008. The IHRC participated in the process last year. It provided a detailed submission to the HRC and presented its main concerns at an oral hearing before the Committee.
  • In its Concluding Observations following the hearing on Ireland’s Report, the Human Rights Committee called on the Government to provide, within one year, relevant information on prison conditions, religion and education, and extraordinary rendition. In response, the Irish Government provided follow-up information to the Committee’s recommendations on these issues in July 2009.
  • See UN Human Rights Committee’s Concluding Observations :http://www.daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G08/433/49/PDF/G0843349.pdf?OpenElement
  • See Irish Government Follow-up Report: http://www.dfa.ie/uploads/documents/
  • See IHRC Submission on Follow-up Report: http://www.ihrc.ie
  • The Inspector of Prisons Annual Report 2008 www.inspectorofprisons.ie/en/IOP/Pages/iop_annual_rpt_2008
  • The Inspector of Prisons Report on Mountjoy www.inspectorofprisons.ie/en/IOP/Pages/PB09000035
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