The United Nations’ Resident Coordinator to the Maldives, Catherine Haswell, presented a Dhivehi translation of ‘The Nelson Mandela Rules’ to Vice President Faisal Naseem on Saturday.
The ‘Nelson Mandela Rules’ are named in honour of South Africa’s first black president, who was imprisoned for twenty-seven years for his anti-apartheid activities, by the then apartheid regime. The rules outline a comprehensive list of minimum-standards relevant to the just and humane treatment of prisoners.
The document contains a total of 122 rules on the treatment of prisoners including basic principles, prisoner file management, accommodation, personal hygiene, food, exercise and sport, healthcare services, instruments of restraint, internal and external inspection, etc.
The Dhivehi translation of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners is now available on the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Accepting the book at a meeting held at the President’s Office, VP Faisal stated that it was an honour to receive this gift on Nelson Mandela’s birthday.
He further expressed that Mandela was a towering and inspirational figure, whose example many global democratic practitioners strive to emulate, adding that he himself strongly admired the former South African President and activist.
The UN Resident Coordinator spoke in praise of the ‘Nelson Mandela Rules’ and expressed her firm view that it was important for all countries to adhere to them in their treatment of prisoners.
She highlighted that the principles contained in them are widely referred to international standards, in determining whether countries’ detention facilities and treatment of prisoners align with global best practices on human rights.
Haswell expressed that she, as well as UN resident staff, are keen to engage with the government in the area of prison reform.
Acknowledging her remarks, VP Naseem stated that President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s administration prioritizes prison reform and the implementation of a justice system that gives precedence to rehabilitation and reintegration.
He also detailed some of the government’s ongoing work in that regard, highlighting its efforts to provide education and job training opportunities to inmates.
Vice President Faisal Naseem was accompanied at the meeting by Minister of Home Affairs Imran Abdulla.
The home minister declared in a tweet that translating and publishing the ‘Mandela Rules’ in Dhivehi on the occasion of Mandela Day was an important step towards prison reform in the Maldives.
He added that Maldives will conduct joint efforts with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to raise awareness and educate the officers on the rules.
Adopting the ‘Mandela Rules’ as the minimum standard for the treatment of prisoners is one of the pledges of the incumbent administration.
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