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UN: Argentina jail violating rights of prisoner with disabilities

[JURIST] The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) [official website] found [press release] on Wednesday that Argentine authorities had failed to ensure equal access and use of prison services and facilities for a prisoner with disabilities. The CRPD stated that Argentina is obliged to not only correct the current situation but also to prevent similar violations by ensuring prisoners are able to have sufficient and reasonable adjustments, access to prison facilities and access to health care. The investigation came after CRPD received a complaint from a prisoner who uses a wheelchair and has a cognitive disorder and partial vision loss, and who argued that he could not adequately maintain his personal hygiene or receive rehabilitative care recommended by his doctor. The CRPD declared that the situation was a breach of the Argentina's obligations under Articles 9 and 14 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities [text], and that Argentina was also holding the prisoners in conditions that violated Article 17.

The treatment of prisoners and prison reform [JURIST podcast] is a growing concern worldwide. Earlier this month, experts from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] voiced concern [JURIST report] about the lack of medical treatment to two political prisoners in Iran who are at risk of dying in detention, given that the government has not responded to requests for specialized medical treatment. In February, New York agreed to prison reforms [JURIST report] that would reduce the use of solitary confinement and ban solitary confinement for prisoners under 18 years old, pregnant inmates, and developmentally disabled and intellectually challenged prisoners, a move which was argued might spark other reforms [JURIST op-ed]. Last October, UN Special Rapporteur on torture Juan Mendez [official profile] encouraged governmental review [JURIST report] of the UN Standard Minimum Rules for Treatment of Prisoners [text, PDF] adopted in 1955, with particular emphasis on limiting solitary confinement.

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