On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, marked today, on 8 March, the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) and 41 national preventive mechanisms, bodies tasked with the prevention of torture, from all over the world, have issued their first joint call for a better protection of women in prisons. One of the signatories is Croatia’s National Preventive Mechanism for the prevention of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (NPM), which operates as one of the mandates of the Office of the Ombudswoman and is the body tasked with the protection of the rights of women deprived of their liberty in Croatia.

The COVID-19 pandemic has additionally complicated the position of all prisoners, as our 2020 Annual Report indicates. This is especially true for women in prisons whose rights are protected by the international instruments such as the Nelson Mandela Rules, the Yogyakarta Principles and the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders (the Bangkok Rules).

It is the implementations of these rules, as well as the NPM’s recommendations, that provides a good basis for the continuous and efficient protection of the rights of women in the prison environments, especially their dignity, health and safety, and for the development of non-custodial alternatives to detention.

The full text of the joint statement is available here.