Initiative Project

    International Standards on the conditions of detention and the treatment of people on death row

    Project | 2018/2019

    As regards the rights of prisoners, international human rights law and international humanitarian law recognise general protection for persons deprived of their liberty. The relevant standards mainly invoked on this theme are the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. These rules, originally adopted in 1955, were revised in 2015, and the set (122 rules) are called the Mandela Rules. These rules do not include any specific provisions concerning the conditions of detention and treatment of people sentenced to death.

    Other non-binding provisions have made specific protections for certain categories of prisoners: the United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty (Beijing Rules, 1990) and the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners (Bangkok Rules, 2011). None of these rules concern women or children sentenced to death, despite specific vulnerabilities.

    The objective of this initiative aims at recognising people sentenced to death as a specific category of persons deprived of their liberty, and at ensuring that their specific vulnerabilities as prisoners sentenced to death are recognised and materialised by the reflection upon, and the drafting of specific standards, similar to what exists for specific categories of prisoners (women, children, etc.).