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Human Rights Council holds panel discussion on the protection of the human rights of persons deprived of their liberty

Human Rights Council 
MORNING

10 September 2014

The Human Rights Council this morning held a panel discussion on the protection of the human rights of persons deprived of liberty.

Jane Connors, Director, Research and Right to Development Division, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, introducing the panel discussion, said some 10 million people around the world were currently subject to various forms of detention. Under international law, the presumption was that of the right to liberty of all individuals. Deprivation of liberty could be justified, particularly in the criminal justice framework, but it must never be arbitrary and must be carried out with respect for the rule of law. She underlined the vulnerability of persons deprived of their liberty, particularly women, children, undocumented migrants and asylum seekers.

The panellists were: Mads Andenas, Chairperson of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and Panel Moderator; Nigel Rodley, Chairperson of the Human Rights Committee; Mario Coriolano, Public Defender before the Tribunal de Cassacion Penal of Buenos Aires, Argentina; Martin Schönteich, Open Society Justice Initiative; Piera Barzano , United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime; Gertrude Brinek, Chairperson of the Austrian Ombudsman Board; and Taghreed Jaber, Penal Reform International, Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa region.

Mr. Andenas said that States should only use deprivation of liberty in order to address a pressing social need, and underlined that pre-trial detention made persons highly vulnerable to other human rights violations. He recognized that regional organizations played an important role in overseeing detention conditions. The right to court review and the right not to suffer from overcrowding conditions would be addressed during this panel discussion.

Mr. Rodley said that the issue of judicial supervision in detention was central to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Committee’s understanding of it. In Article 9, not just those held in connection with criminal charges were dealt with, but also those detained for any kind of purpose. Anyone had the right to challenge their detention. It was considered to apply under all circumstances, even in principle in armed conflict situations, though obviously international humanitarian law principles may help in the interpretation of how the right would be applied.

Mr. Schontiech said that the excessive and arbitrary use of pre-trial detention constituted a massive human rights violation. On an average day, some 3.3 million people around the world were awaiting trial or finalization of their trial. If one considered their families and households that were affected, tens of millions of people were affected by the pre-trial detention regime over the course of a typical year. On alternatives to pre-trial detention, books around the world were replete with these. The problem was implementation.

Ms. Brinek said that the Austrian Ombudsman Board was also acting as the national preventive mechanism and played a crucial role in assessing the condition of people in detention. A challenge was the difficulty in establishing standards and defining what quality benchmarks were. Ms. Brinek highlighted the importance of better standards for young persons in detention and said that there should be as little juvenile imprisonment as possible.

Ms. Barzano said that part of the mandate was to act as the guardian of the minimum standards of imprisonment, which were currently undergoing revision. An Expert group had been created to look at those minimum standard rules with a very detailed eye and update them with the latest scientific evidence and good practices. Another part of the mandate of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime was to address the causes of the prison problems, which had to do with sentencing and the criminal policies of States.

In the discussion that followed, speakers noted that a measure of civilization in a given society was the way it treated those deprived of their liberties and that while international law provided a comprehensive framework for the protection of all persons, the reality for many of them in all regions of the world remained alarming. There were significant problems within the prison and penitentiary systems which led to high levels of overcrowding, affecting the effective enjoyment of the rights of detainees which should not be limited or suspended. It was paramount for States to take every allegation of denial of the fundamental legal safeguards very seriously. States were urged to take account of the specific needs of vulnerable groups such as minors.

Speaking in the discussion were Pakistan on behalf of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, European Union, Colombia, France, Estonia, Portugal, Morocco, and Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, Burkina Faso, United States, Austria, Switzerland, Iceland, Ireland, Uruguay, United Nations Children’s Fund, Ukraine, the International Committee of the Red Cross, Denmark, Algeria, Cuba, Italy, China, Egypt, Iraq and India.

The Office of Public Defender Georgia, Penal Reform International, International Catholic Child Bureau, Friends World Committee for Consultation, Defence for Children International, and the Association for the Prevention of Torture also spoke.

The Human Rights Council during its noon meeting will conclude its clustered interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteurs on safe drinking water and sanitation, and on hazardous substances and wastes. It will then begin its clustered interactive dialogue with the Working Group on mercenaries, and with the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order.

Opening Statements

JANE CONNORS, Director of the Research and Right to Development Division of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, introducing the panel discussion, said some 10 million people around the world were currently subject to various forms of detention. Under international law, the presumption was that of the right to liberty of all individuals. Deprivation of liberty could be justified, particularly in the criminal justice framework, but it must never be arbitrary and must be carried out with respect for the rule of law. She underlined the vulnerability of persons deprived of their liberty, particularly women, children, undocumented migrants and asylum seekers.

International law provided a comprehensive legal framework for the protection of persons deprived of their liberty. Yet, in many countries, the rights of those persons were not guaranteed. Pre-trial detention had to be exceptional and the shortest possible. Yet the use of pre-trial detention had increased subsequently, and was used systematically in some countries. Women were particularly affected as they were often incapable of affording bail costs. Many States also faced overcrowding, which increased the possibilities of death and violence and facilitated the spread of infectious diseases. Alternative sentences had to be explored to address these issues, and States had to focus more efforts on rehabilitation. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights codified the right for everyone to challenge an arrest or accusation, and States had the primary responsibility to guarantee those rights. Ms. Connors then presented some activities by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to promote the rights of persons deprived of their liberty.

MADS ANDENAS, Chairperson of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and Panel Moderator, said that States should only use deprivation of liberty in order to address a pressing social need, and underlined that pre-trial detention made persons highly vulnerable to other human rights violations. He recognized that regional organizations played an important role in overseeing detention conditions. The right to court review and the right not to suffer from overcrowding conditions would be addressed during this panel discussion. Mr. Andenas then introduced the panellists.

Statements by the Panellists

NIGEL RODELY, Chairperson of the Human Rights Committee, said that the issue of judicial supervision in detention was central to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Committee’s understanding of the Covenant. In Article 9, not just those held in connection with criminal charges were dealt with, but also those detained for any kind of purpose. Anyone had the right to challenge their detention. That right was therefore one that had to be available. It was considered to apply under all circumstances, even in principle in armed conflict situations, though obviously international humanitarian law principles may help in the interpretation of how the right would be applied. Even though Article 9 was not immune from being suspended in time of public emergency, it had been decided long ago that the right to challenge detention was one dimension that was immune. Work had to be carried out to ensure that all countries complied with their obligations to ensure that detention was challengeable before a court.

MARTIN SCHÖNTEICH, Open Society Justice Initiative, said that the excessive and arbitrary use of pre-trial detention constituted a massive human rights violation. On an average day, some 3.3 million people around the world were awaiting trial or finalization of their trial. If one considered their families and households that were affected, tens of millions of people were affected by the pre-trial detention regime over the course of a typical year. One consequence of pre-trial detention included prison overcrowding and resulting poor conditions. A second was that of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment that was common and often routine in many detention facilities. Another was corruption, which exacerbated the use of arbitrary arrest and pre-trial detention. It also undermined social and economic well-being. Detainees could not earn an income, which also affected their families’ households. On alternatives to pre-trial detention, books around the world were replete with these. The problem was implementation.

MARIO CORIOLANO, Public Defender before the Tribunal de Cassacion Penal of Buenos Aires, Argentina, said that prison was a failure. Millions of detained persons and their families were suffering because the prison system was failing. Monitoring mechanisms had a vital role to play. Overcrowding was increasing social violence and could lead to other rights violations. There was a lack of implementation of rules and standards, hence the importance of monitoring bodies. Monitoring bodies could be local or external oversight bodies, and had to be independent, in compliance with the Paris Principles. At the global level, Mr. Coriolano called on all States to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

TAGHREED JABER, Penal Reform International, Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa region, said that prison overcrowding meant fewer resources for prisoners, streamlined services and practical problems for prison administrations. In the Middle East today there was more than 120 percent of prison capacity filled. Overcrowding led to inmates having less access to showers and health services, which led to the spread of diseases. Inmates also had less access to food. Overcrowding affected women and children accompanying their mothers, as well as prison workers. Overcrowding led to more human rights violations.

GERTRUDE BRINEK, Chairperson of the Austrian Ombudsman Board, said that the Austrian Ombudsman Board also acted as a national preventive mechanism and played a crucial role in assessing the condition of people in detention. In order to be successful, such a mechanism must have independence, resources, expertise and diversity; it also needed comprehensive powers. A challenge was the difficulty in establishing standards and defining what quality benchmarks were. Ms. Brinek highlighted the importance of better standards for young persons in detention and said that there should be as little juvenile imprisonment as possible. Juveniles should be held in assisted group homes rather than in prisons. Those in prisons should be held in open cells and separate from adults in all circumstances, and should be cared for by specialized personnel.

PIERA BARZANO, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, said that part of the mandate was to act as a guardian of the minimum standards of imprisonment, which were currently undergoing revision. An Expert group had been created to look at those minimum standard rules with a very detailed eye and update them with the latest scientific evidence and good practices. So far it had been agreed to introduce a section on searching, which was missing from the rules, but progress had been slow in other key areas such as health care, access to legal representation, complaints and other. Another part of the mandate of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime was to address the causes of prison problems, which had to do with sentencing and criminal policies of States.

Discussion

Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said that while international law provided a comprehensive framework for the protection of all persons, the reality for many of them in all regions of the world remained alarming. Member States were urged to take concrete action at the domestic level. Portugal said that indeed, a measure of civilization in a given society was the way it treated those deprived of their liberty. Portugal asked for the views of the panel on drawing the line between the limitations that were, and those that were not, demonstrably necessitated by the fact of incarceration. Colombia agreed that there were significant problems within the prison and penitentiary systems which led to high level of overcrowding, affecting the effective enjoyment of the rights of detainees which should not be limited or suspended. European Union said it was important to underline that persons deprived of their liberty should enjoy the same human rights protection as any other human being, with the exception of those limitations that were necessitated by the fact of their incarceration.

Estonia said that on a national level, it found that the comprehensive education of personnel in places of detention was an important means to prevent injustice to persons deprived of their liberty. It was paramount for States to take every allegation of denial of the fundamental legal safeguards very seriously. Morocco said that it was necessary for specific protection to be provided for detainees. The rights of prisoners were enshrined in Morocco’s Constitution. Its concept was that prison was a second chance to prepare for reinsertion into society and the labour market. France said that it had always positioned itself in the forefront of the combat in favour of the rights of persons deprived of their liberty. At the national level, France had taken several special initiatives to protect these rights, including improvement of conditions of detention.

Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS said that too many prisoners were not in a position to access HIV protection services. It was necessary to reform laws to ensure that people dependent on drugs were not considered as criminals and were offered the possibility for voluntary rehabilitation. Burkina Faso said it had recently undertaken measures to ensure better protection of the rights of children in conflict with the law and to prevent torture, ensuring access to justice and legal counsel for children. United States stressed the importance of oversight to challenge detention conditions, and underlined that pre-trial detention increased the risks for human rights violations. The United States inquired about cooperation between United Nations agencies on this issue.

Austria said that overcrowded prisons were the result of overuse of detention. Children were particularly vulnerable and needed specific safeguards and care. Austria would continue efforts to strengthen the rule of law in the administration of justice. Switzerland called upon States to take account of the specific needs of vulnerable groups such as minors, and encouraged the sharing of best practices. Switzerland noted that torture often occurred within the first hours of the deprivation of liberty, and was therefore concerned at the global increase of pre-trial detention. Incommunicado detention should be prohibited.

The Office of Public Defender of Georgia regretted the lack of impartiality of public investigations over alleged human rights violations in prisons. It encouraged the Government of Georgia to foster its cooperation with international monitoring bodies, including through the implementation of recommendations. Penal Reform International, in a joint statement, said that overcrowding constituted a global threat to the prohibition of torture. The disproportionate use of imprisonment was a problem, and alternative sentences were highly recommended. International Catholic Child Bureau regretted the lack of allocation of a budget by the Government of Peru to ensure appropriate oversight and improve detention conditions in the country. There was a high level of drug addiction in the Peruvian prisons, as well as overcrowding, lack of access to services, and lack of protection for juvenile offenders. Friends World Committee for Consultation said that the risks of human rights violations increased when persons deprived of their liberties were from minorities, and underlined the necessity to implement the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners, known as the Bangkok Rules.

MADS ANDENAS, Chairperson of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and Panel Moderator, asked Mr. Rodley to address questions asked by a number of delegations concerning the best means to ensure the oversight of violations of rights of people in detention, access to legal representation and the role of international law and international supervision.

NIGEL RODLEY, Chairperson of the Human Rights Committee, said that it had always been recognized that the issue of treatment in detention could not be separated from the process of detention itself. A number of resolutions had been adopted in this regard. There was a need to move towards transparency in deprivation of freedom, which meant prohibition of the incommunicado detention, judicial access from the moment of detention, and attacks on corruption which undermined the whole process. Ultimately, what was needed was transparency and not opacity. Mr. Rodley agreed that the international law was clear in this area and that implementation at the national level was needed. States needed to wean themselves off the drug of incarceration; over-incarceration was a political problem.

MADS ANDENAS, Chairperson of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and Panel Moderator, said that several delegations spoke about alternatives to detention and asked about good practices and different perspectives to detention, including pre-trial detention.

MARTIN SCHÖNTEICH, Open Society Justice Initiative, said that there were a number of good laws and alternatives to pre-trial detention in a number of countries around the world. The question was the implementation of those alternatives to detention. One innovative development, particularly in many parts of Africa, was the increasing use of paralegals; lawyers were not many and were too expensive. Paralegals could provide legal representation, legal assistance and advice, and assist with obtaining guarantees from the community to facilitate the release on one’s own cognizance.

MARIO CORIOLANO, Public Defender before the Tribunal de Cassacion Penal of Buenos Aires, Argentina, said that the questions and comments had been very good because there was a critical mass that agreed that there were many good existing rules. The problem was the implementation of such rules. On the reduction of overcrowding, some countries had asked whether there were any gaps. In terms of international law and local law, there were not thought to be any gaps, but it was important to have a human rights approach and for the Council to produce guidelines. Some examples of good practices could be given, but these had not been maintained over time.

TAGHREED JABER, Penal Reform International, Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa region, said that the more the prisons, the more countries would continue with penal sanctions. There should be an adoption of human rights rules and principles in the administration of prisoners, which would lead to a drop of human rights abuses in prisons, especially overcrowded ones. The many practical measures presented by delegations were appreciated. There was a need to take into account the interests of women and children, and to seek to rehabilitate them.

GERTRUDE BRINEK, Chairperson of the Austrian Ombudsman Board, said that building more prisons was not the solution, alternative sentences were. She insisted on the importance of specific measures for female and children prisoners.

PIERA BARZANO, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, said that the effects of imprisonment were much harsher for women than for men, including from a community point of view. She said that prison facilities were often built for young men and did not take into account the specific needs of women.

Iceland said that prison overcrowding was a global human right challenge, and that alternative sentences were often used in Iceland. Iceland also made efforts to accommodate the specific needs of children and to strictly guarantee the right to file complaints and challenge detention sentences. Ireland condemned prolonged and arbitrary detention, and regretted the lack of implementation of international standards and the rights of persons deprived of their liberty, including the establishment of independent oversight. Ireland asked how to ensure that women and the most vulnerable groups were protected. Uruguay had made investments on staff training and education on the rights of persons deprived of their liberty, including on access to justice and women and children deprived of their liberty. Uruguay was making efforts to improve social rehabilitation for former detainees.

United Nations Children’s Fund said that detention should only be a last resort measure for children. Alternative measures could offer children better development opportunities and offer solutions to overcrowding. Migrant children should never be detained as a result of their migrant status or their parents’. Ukraine said that the involvement of the Russian Federation’s forces in Ukraine and the illegal occupation of Crimea had led to human rights violations, including arbitrary and unlawful detention. Ukraine asked what mechanism could be used to force the Russian Federation to free arbitrarily detained Ukrainian prisoners. Indonesia presented its domestic legislation and measures protecting the rights of persons deprived of their liberty, and underscored the need to address the issue from a broader context, including through reforming the judicial system.

International Committee of the Red Cross said that overcrowding was on the increase in many countries and was a humanitarian concern as it reduced standards and compromised the fulfilling of basic needs of detainees, including living conditions, medical care, legal aid and family visits. Denmark was a staunch supporter of the global fight against torture and asked the panellists about interstate cooperation as a way to contribute to better protection of the human rights of all persons deprived of their liberty. Algeria had undertaken the reform of the judicial system to respond to citizens’ aspirations and establish the rule of law, which contained also the reform of penitentiary measures, including the improvement in communication between detainees and their families, adoption of specific sanitary regimes for pregnant women and minors and other measures. The penitentiary system in Cuba was humane and functioned in strict compliance with the law. Cuba called attention to the case of five Cubans imprisoned in the United States, and the violation of their human rights and of the United Nations minimum standard rules.

Italy said that the question of persons deprived of liberty had been at the core of national debate with the aim of identifying tools to alleviate overcrowding. Italy asked about the use of broad amnesty and pardon as tools to counterpart overcrowding in prisons. China guaranteed by law the right of detainees, strictly prohibited confession under duress or torture, and had special legislative provisions in place for female and disabled prisoners. What role was there for international cooperation in improving the conditions of detention and improving the economic, social and cultural rights of detainees? Defence for Children International said that the detention of children always constituted a violation of children’s rights and, noting the lack of data on the situation of children deprived of their liberty, called for a global study to be conducted on the subject. Association for the Prevention of Torture stressed the crucial role of national preventive mechanisms in the prevention of torture and other ill-treatment and said that the system could only be effective if they were given the compulsory functional independence and access to places of deprivation of liberty.

Egypt said that global awareness on the rights of persons deprived of their liberty had increased during the past years. Egypt’s constitution offered guarantees for detainees, and its domestic legislation and judiciary ensured the implementation of such guarantees. Egypt underlined the importance of international cooperation on this issue. Iraq said its constitution enshrined the rights of persons deprived of their liberty. Prisons and detention facilities met the standards to respect the dignity and rights of prisoners, including with regards to access to services. Iraq had also adopted texts to ensure the protection of the rights of minors. India said that its constitution guaranteed the rights of persons deprived of their liberty, including in terms of access to justice. The Indian judiciary had been very vigilant of the rights of prisoners, including the ones on death row. Protection of the right of detainees was a complex issue that needed proper balance between human dignity and public order.

MADS ANDENAS, Chairperson of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and Panel Moderator, asked Sir Rodley to describe international mechanisms relevant to the issue.

NIGEL RODLEY, Chairperson of the Human Rights Committee, spoke about ways the Special Procedures of the United Nations human rights system cooperated and avoided overlap, deferring on certain issues, missions and interpretations of work.

MADS ANDENAS, Chairperson of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and Panel Moderator, referred to coordination with the human rights treaty bodies and the Human Rights Council, noting that clear directives in Council resolutions greatly helped to facilitate coordination.

MARTIN SCHÖNTEICH, Open Society Justice Initiative, said the issues of pre-trial detention and overcrowding were intertwined, particularly because globally more than half of the prison population were people being held in pre-trial detention. Evidence showed that being in pre-trial detention increased the risk that people, once convicted, were given a custodial sentence. Clearly the pre-trial detention status played a role in persuading judges and courts to impose a custodial sentence. The criminal justice system was like a funnel, said Mr. Schontiech, so an effective way of reducing prison overcrowding was to reduce the number of people entering the criminal justice system in the first place. Areas that had been proven to be effective included crime prevention, reducing the numbers of juvenile offenders, making arrest systems more rational and providing judges with alternatives to pre-trial detention.

MADS ANDENAS, Chairperson of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and Panel Moderator, queried why there were such huge variations in practice of pre-trial detention between countries, even in the same region.

MARTIN SCHÖNTEICH, Open Society Justice Initiative, agreed there were huge variations both between regions and within regions. Often the laws and policies between regional neighbouring countries were similar but the difference came down to political will and how that political will to reduce pre-trial detention was communicated to law-enforcement authorities and the judiciary. There was certainly a need for better data. They needed to know to what extent alternatives were used by criminal justice systems, and exactly how many people not in pre-trial detention actually absconded before their trial.

TAGHREED JABER, Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa Region at Penal Reform International, said in terms of criminal reform, technical assistance and exchange of expertise and best practice were most effective between countries in the same region. Similarities in criminal justice systems and the culture of a country hugely led reform processes. Ms. Jaber stressed that only political will would reduce the overuse of pre-trial detention, and therefore prison overcrowding.

MADS ANDENAS, Chairperson of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and Panel Moderator, asked about national mechanisms in prison institutions, and what requirements were needed for monitoring institutions directly.

GERTRUDE BRINEK, Chairperson of the Austrian Ombudsman Board, said that the Austrian national preventive mechanism could talk to prisoners in a private and confidential atmosphere, had access to all information, could take pictures and could maintain private correspondence with detainees. There was room for improvement, particularly in the use of alternatives to detention and increased cooperation with others.

MADS ANDENAS, Chairperson of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and Panel Moderator, asked about the revision of the minimum standards in terms of protection, particularly concerning vulnerable groups in detention such as children or migrants.

PIERA BARZANO, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, said that this was one of the controversial issues in the revision of the minimum standard rules. It was important in the process of the revision not to “kill” the Bangkok rules for the treatment of women prisoners and ensure that gender perspectives were applied to all detainees. There was a set of standards which described the specific needs of children. Another controversial issue was the scope of application of the minimum standard rules, with some States advocating their application in all forms of deprivation of liberty.

MARIO CORIOLANO, Public Defender before the Tribunal de Cassacion Penal of Buenos Aires, Argentina, noted that there were a number of measures to reduce overcrowding in prisons; one of the central ones was the respect for maximum capacity of the place of detention. This was not respected because of the lack of political will, lack of respect for human rights, lack of mechanisms to prevent such violations, and lack of technical plans and human or material resources to implement them.

MADS ANDENAS, Chairperson of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and Panel Moderator, asked when substandard conditions turned detention into arbitrary detention.

NIGEL RODLEY, Chairperson of the Human Rights Committee, said that placing people in conditions where they were treated without regard for their dignity and rights was inhumane. Overcrowding was a problem that must be addressed and another was incommunicado detention. There were countries which explicitly had 21 days or no limit at all for detainees to being brought out from detention where they were at a mercy of their captors. If States created pre-conditions for torture, they were then responsible for torture.

MADS ANDENAS, Chairperson of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and Panel Moderator, said that the Human Rights Council had contributed to the establishment of the crystal clear law in this regard, and that not a single State challenged it.

NIGEL RODLEY, Chairperson of the Human Rights Committee, agreed that it was up to the Council to review situations country by country and put issues in the public eye. There were still States that categorically refused to accept the internationally recognized rule concerning incommunicado detention.

MARTIN SCHÖNTEICH, Open Society Justice Initiative, mentioned several success stories from around the world concerning the reduction in pre-trial detention, including in New Zealand, Ireland, Mexico, South Africa and others. Other States could draw from such stories and understand that that progress was possible even in resource poor settings.

MARIO CORIOLANO, Public Defender before the Tribunal de Cassacion Penal of Buenos Aires, Argentina, said that there was a need to improve criminal justice and reduce the number of offences, and added that those were decisions taken by the State. Further, it was possible to prevent crimes with other means separately from criminal justice as outlined in the relevant General Assembly resolution. There was a need for a human rights based approach to reforms of the judiciary, penitentiary and police sector.

TAGHREED JABER, Penal Reform International, Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa region, said that the legislative framework was a crucial point and the international one was very comprehensive, but there were still, in a number of countries, gaps in domestic frameworks and in the implementation on the ground; this was something for the Council to focus on.

PIERA BARZANO, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, said overcrowding should be looked at as a consequence and not cause of problems and mentioned the efforts of the Office to develop strategies to reduce overcrowding.

MADS ANDENAS, Chairperson of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and Panel Moderator, in his closing remarks said that the capacity of the Council to contribute through peer reviews was enormous. The Council could also contribute through the exchange of good practice, clarification of the international law and the formation of customary international law through practice of States.

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