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OSCE online seminar addresses international standards in penitentiary system in Turkmenistan

Enhancing prison health care systems was the focus of an OSCE-organized online seminar that took place on 23 and 24 November 2020.

The two-day seminar was delivered by experts from the United Kingdom, the Swedish Prison and Probation Service and international organizations, including Penal Reform International and the World Health Organization, as well as the Human Rights department of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.

The online event brought together representatives of the Mejlis (parliament) of Turkmenistan, the Ombudsperson’s office, the Institute of State, Law and Democracy, and the BAR Association of Ashgabat, Prosecutor General’s office, Ministries of Interior and Adalat (Justice), the Supreme Court and other law-enforcement bodies.

Experts presented international framework for the protection of prisoners and elaborated for standards related to prison management and prison staff as well as contacts with the outside world.

“As part of their professional duty, prison staff take responsibility for the prisoners’ health and safety and regular training and capacity-building are crucial for enhancing understanding of prisoners’ rights and special needs,” said Natalya Drozd, Head of the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat.

“The OSCE Centre in Ashgabat organized this seminar to facilitate the exchange of best practices in promoting prisoners’ rights and enhancing the penitentiary system and it is our belief that the event will contribute to the Centre’s co-operation with the host Government in this important area launched ten years ago.”

The seminar highlighted health care provisions, challenges, and examples of good models of prison health care systems. Special attention was paid to COVID-19 response in a prison health care system, and incident prevention and response in light of protecting the safety of prisoners and staff.

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