National monitoring team publishes periodic report on the conditions in Jordan’s prisons
By Maja Christine Wester
The Jordanian National Center for Human Rights (NCHR) had on the occasion of a new report from the National Monitoring Team (NMT) invited journalists and human rights activists to a press conference. The report summarizes observations based on the NMT’s visits to detention centers from the 1st of July 2014 till 28th of February 2016. In this period, the team conducted 39 visits and wrote 28 monitoring visit reports. Some reports were covering two visits to the same detention center.
In the report, the NMT stresses the prison personnel’s cooperation and that personnel at the detention centers in Jordan have a general awareness of human rights. However, the report also points to gaps in the fulfillment of human rights standards and weaknesses in conditions at some detention centers, such as:
- “[The] Karama team [NMT] received many claims of ill treatment and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, such as beating a group of inmates at Mawaqqar 2 center, and claims of not respecting privacy when conducting physical inspection with inmates completely naked in front of officers and personnel, (…)”
Remarks on the conditions
1) Environment: the NMT report e.g. states that some centers need maintenance as they suffer from dampness and problems with ventilation; lack of drinking water and shortage of hot water at some centers; and inmates at some centers complain over bad heating in the winter or lack of air condition in the hot summer days.
2) Inmates’ rights: the NMT report e.g. says that not all detention centers separate inmates according to the gravity of crime and its nature, such as misdemeanor or felony.
3) Rehabilitation: the NMT report e.g. notes that there is a lack of a clear vision of the concept of rehabilitation and ways of implementing it in detention centers.
4) Records and entries: the NMT e.g. observes that the Juwaideh Women detention center does not apply a system for records and files. Thereby there is a weakness in the documentation of the legal, social, health and economic conditions of its inmates.
Technical support from DIGNITY
NMT operates under the umbrella of NCHR and conducts visits to places of detention with the aim to prevent and combat torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The team consists of a specialized team of professionals from various fields: lawyers, psychologists, sociologists, forensic doctors, journalists etc.
DIGNITY – Danish Institute against Torture has supported the NMT technically throughout the national anti-torture programme Karama and supported with capacity building. NMT has had specialized training on the methods of monitoring and documentation, techniques of interviewing detainees, ways of exposing cases of torture and ill-treatment and training in writing reports on the visits.
The NMT was established in 2008 as an outcome of the Karama programme. The main local partners in the programme are: the Ministry of Justice, the Prosecution Office, the NCHR and Mizan for Law. The programme is funded by the Danish Ministry of Foreign affairs under the Danish Arab Partnership programme (DAPP).