The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) continues its mandate of visiting jails and checking the welfare of inmates despite the threat of COVID-19.
The CHR Regional Office 2 (Cagayan Valley) visited different precincts in Cagayan and Isabela to check the welfare of inmates.
“Bahagi ng mandato ng CHR ang jail visitations upang masiguradong walang mangyaring insidente ng pagmamalabis at paglabag sa karapatang pantao ng mga persons deprived of liberty lalo na sa gitna ng pandemyang ating kinahaharap (Jail visitations are part of the CHR’s mandate to ensure that there are no incidents of abuse and human rights violations against persons deprived of liberty especially in the middle of the pandemic),” the CHR tweeted.
One of the biggest concerns of the CHR in jails is overcrowding, which has been a huge problem even before the COVID-19 health crisis. Aside from overcrowding, jails have been hounded by poor hygiene and poor healthcare infrastructure.
CHR spokesperson Atty. Jacqueline Ann de Guia said that these issues, if remained unaddressed, will result in cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment or punishment of PDLs, which goes against the country’s commitment to the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT) and its Optional Protocol (OPCAT).
The CHR, through the establishment of the Interim National Preventive Mechanism (INPM), recommended that wardens and officers implement strict physical distancing among PDLs and other personnel; create alternative visitation arrangements, including Internet or telephone communications; conduct information drives on ways to combat the spread of the contagion; and attend to psychosocial concerns of all persons in jails, prisons, and other places of detention.