New ICRC Blog & Publications on Detention

In a new ICRC blog published this week, Helen Durham, the ICRC’s Director of International Law and Policy, serves up considerable food for thought in relation to the harsh realities faced by detainees in armed conflict and how the legal framework protecting such persons might be reinforced and translated into greater protection at the operational level. In her discussion the writer identifies three areas of work where she believes that the ICRC has contributed to enhanced protection. These include the on-going process of updating the commentary on the Third Geneva Convention (on the treatment of prisoners of war) as well as efforts to strengthen the protection of International Humanitarian Law vis-a-vis detainees in the context of non-international armed conflict.

For the purposes of this website, however, of more direct interest will be the writer’s focus on the ICRC’s work to contribute to better conditions of detention for persons who are held in prisons. In doing so, Helen highlights the two important ICRC publications illustrated below. According to the author:

“Building on its extensive experience in visiting prisons and engaging with prison authorities, the ICRC has just released a set of guiding principles on prison planning and design. The ICRC has also cooperated with leading academics to update a Handbook for Prison Staff on a ‘Human Rights Approach to Prison Management’. These are very concrete tools that I can warmly recommend to anyone involved in prison planning and management.”

While certain Canadian human rights and criminal justice actors may well be familiar with earlier editions of this updated version of the publication, A Human Rights Approach to Prison Management (issued with the Centre for Criminal Policy Research in 2018), others may be less familiar with Towards Humane Prisons (also published in 2018). Both publications (which are currently available in English) can be obtained by clicking on the images below.

ICRC blog publication            ICRC blog publications

Please note that the 2nd edition of A Human Rights Approach to Prison Management is available in French.

Other ICRC publications of interest can be found under Other Resources.

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