South Sudanese Government and UNMISS Inaugurate the Prisons Development Committee at NPSSS Headquarters in Juba

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JUBA, South SudanThe United Nations Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Moustapha Soumaré, and the Deputy Minister of Interior, Hon. Riaw Gatlir Gai, have inaugurated the Prisons Development Committee (PDC) at a function organised by the National Prisons Service of South Sudan (NPS) in Juba. The formation of the PDC is part of ongoing technical cooperation between the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the NPS.

Addressing the gathering, Hon. Riaw Gatlir Gai stressed the significant role that the PDC will play in strengthening the relationship between the government and its development partners. He called for greater coordination between stakeholders and advocated that the PDC focus foremost on measures to ensure the rehabilitation of prisoners into the society.

Mr. Soumaré reaffirmed UNMISS and its Rule of Law Advisory Section’s commitment to providing technical assistance and advice to NPS to create a safe, secure, and humane prison system. In commending the ongoing partnership between UNMISS and NPS, Mr. Soumaré described the PDC as a robust coordination mechanism that will bring together all stakeholders to give strategic guidance and support to the prison service.

A presentation made on behalf of Gen. Henry Kuany Aguar, Director General of NPS, defined NPS’ vision be a professional, ethical and responsive organization contributing to public safety and security through humane penal practices by promoting a work culture that sustains motivated, dedicated and innovative staff.

The NPS has exhorted the international community to support it in: establishing a safe and secure prison environment by assisting in infrastructure development, health and hygiene for prisoners, and radio communications facilities linking national and upcountry prisons; reducing cases of prolonged and arbitrary detention by identifying and addressing such cases, training in prison records management, and establishing a juvenile remand review board; providing humane treatment to prisoners by improved budgetary allocation to prisons.

Others are rehabilitating prisoners by encouraging community service, providing vocational opportunities to prisoners, and developing a prison-industries policy framework; and promoting accountability and professional standards by reviving the internal audit procedures, training prison staff, and gender mainstreaming in NPS’s human resources policy.

The NPC was Created pursuant to section 34 of the 2011 Prisons Act, the PDC is a multi-sectoral platform bringing together the police, judiciary, government ministries and agencies, UNMISS, UN agencies, civil society and other stakeholders in the prison system, to coordinate its strategic direction going forward.

Its functions include maintaining international best practices in prisons management, monitoring human rights standards, and developing prisoner treatment programs with the aim of improving prison institutions.

The launch of the PDC follows recent achievements of the NPSSS-UNMISS partnership including the setting up of the juvenile reformatory in Juba and finalization of the first phase of the pilot project addressing prolonged and arbitrary detention, facilitated by the UNMISS Rule of Law Advisory Section.