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Pakistan

SHRC recommends virus testing, quarantine facilities within jail premises across Sindh   

Justice (retd) Majida Rizvi said the provincial government must, otherwise too, take appropriate measures to protec
26 Mar, 2020
  • Justice (retd) Majida Rizvi said the provincial government must, otherwise too, take appropriate measures to protect inmates from virus and immediately release those jailed for petty crimes.
  • Besides testing of jail inmates and staff, coupled with necessary precautionary measures to protect them against the virus.

KARACHI: Sindh Human Rights Commission Chairperson Justice (Retd) Majida Rizvi has recommended provision for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) testing facilities for inmates and staff, along with isolation wards and quarantine units, inside the premises of prisons scattered across the province.

SHRCP chief, a former judge of Sindh High Court, in a communication forwarded to the Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, said identification and close monitoring of the aged, weaker and vulnerable inmates with medical conditions was also urgently required.

"It must be ensured with due care that they are immediately shifted to a separate barrack," said Rizvi.

Emphasizing that prisoners charged under minor crimes must be released on bail, she said those who may have already been granted bail but cannot be freed because of their inability to arrange penalty must be extended special concession and released on urgent basis.

SHRCP chief mentioning that High Court of Islamabad has already granted bail to various under trial, charged under minor offences, she said severity of the situation demanded urgent precautionary steps on jail premises in Sindh as well.

"Hence we urge the authorities to add all 26 jails of the province in their mitigation plan" said the SHRCP chief.

Justice (retd) Majida Rizvi said the provincial government must, otherwise too, take appropriate measures to protect inmates from virus and immediately release those jailed for petty crimes.

It was also reminded that the Commission, during the course of its previous visits to various jails in the province, had identified and reported to the provincial government that all these are over-crowded which in the current situation has turned inmates, whether UTP or convicts, increasingly vulnerable to contract and even multiply the coronavirus among themselves.

"They need special attention as the biochemical composition of the particular virus suggests that it is very contagious and can spread easily from person to person," she elaborated.

It was further emphasized that keeping in view the intensity of the threat the pandemic is posing to the masses the Commission fear that the jails could fast turn into breeding grounds for the virus if timely actions were not taken.

Besides testing of jail inmates and staff, coupled with necessary precautionary measures to protect them against the virus, SHRCP also sought provision for alternative plans with regard to supply of needed food and other stuff as prisoners are no more availing opportunity to have regular interviews with their family members and friends.

"It is therefore quite important that they are urgently provided with adequate and hygienically prepared quality food besides access to medicines needed by them," said Justice (retd) Majida Rizvi.

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