[Dateline: New York | Author: DPKO]
Corrections Advisers with the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) are working in close collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the International Centre for Criminal Law Reform and Criminal Justice Policy (ICCLR) to lead the process of prison reform in Southern Sudan. The partnership has produced a number of tangible achievements and is a model working relationship that could be adopted in other UN Missions.
Since December 2007, UN Corrections Advisers have been working to strengthen the capacity of prison management by training prison staff to work with prisoners with special needs, particularly women and children, prisoners with mental illness and those suffering from HIV/AIDS. Prison staff are also being trained in information management, human resources and policy development.
The UNODC Prisons Support Project to Southern Sudan and the UNMIS Corrections Advisory Unit are co-located at the UNMIS team site in Juba.
“We are replicating a successful model of integration already proven successful by our mine action colleagues, whose integrated mine action office within UNMIS brings UNDP [UN Development Programme], UNHCR [UN Refugee Agency] and UNMAS [UN Mine Action Service] colleagues together,” said Robert Leggat, the Corrections Coordinator with the Corrections Advisory Unit of UNMIS.
“This model has proved to be very successful in strengthening the relationship between UNMIS, UNODC and DPKO, and could be replicated in other United Nations peacekeeping Missions,” Mr. Leggat noted.
DPKO and UNODC also worked closely with the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the UN Childrens Fund (UNICEF) to train female staff at Juba Prison to improve the welfare of female prisoners. The prisons have been supplied with sewing machines and energy efficient cooking stoves, to enable inmates to learn vocational skills.
The prison reform project also involved training prison staff and medical officers on the management of vulnerable groups in prisons, and training prison medical officers about HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis and other medical issues.
Several Training of Trainer programs jointly conducted by UNMIS and UNODC in various states in South Sudan have had a positive impact on the national capacity of the Prisons Service.
The program was designed in partnership with the Government of Southern Sudan and UNMIS. It includes new elements such as: training core group leaders, developing management and information systems, developing laws, policies and standing orders to support reforms, ensuring lawful detention and adhering to the rule of law. It also involves improving the well-being of prisoners with special needs, and improving prison conditions and prisoner health.
UNMIS Corrections Advisers also work closely with the police, civil affairs and justice components of the Mission.
The Brahimi Panel on United Nations Peace Operations (2000) called for a “team approach” among UN actors and urged the Security Council to provide mandates that authorize “an adequately resourced team approach to upholding the rule of law and respect for human rights, through judicial, penal, human rights and policing experts working together in a coordinated and collegial manner”.
DPKO’s Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions (OROLSI) was created to foster this team approach. OROLSI unifies police, justice and corrections, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, security sector reform and mine action components to provide an integrated approach to United Nations assistance in rule of law and security.