The Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) has forwarded a ‘Rapid Monitoring Report on Prison Condition’ conducted by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to the Department of Prison Management (DoPM) for implementation.

Recently, the NHRC had conducted an investigation to report the situation of human rights of detainees and prisoners in detention centres and the prisons located in Kathmandu and Lalitpur.

The NHRC had made a 13-point recommendation to improve the condition of prisons and human rights of inmates after the monitoring and on-site investigation of prisons in 28 districts.

The spokesperson for MoHA, Joint Secretary Chakra Bahadur Budha, said the report was forwarded to the DoPM for implementations of recommendations that fall under its jurisdiction.

The report also urged the Government of Nepal to draft and implement a guideline to ensure the safety of detainees and prisoners in all the prisons amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, the authorities concerned have been asked to arrange necessary budget for essential materials such as masks, sanitisers, gloves, face shields, thermal gun, PPE sets, etc. immediately in order to prevent the risk of coronavirus infection among inmates, security personnel and staffers inside prison houses.

The authorities were also told to arrange necessary budget for management of quarantine and isolation wards inside prisons and health workers for effective management of health care.

“Precautionary measures to reduce the risk of infection among the inmates such as hand sanitisers, nutritious food, water, toilet facilities, and health guidelines set by World Health Organisation have not been implemented due to lack of budget. So, the government should immediately arrange necessary budget for this purpose,” the report read.

Many prisons in Nepal are overcrowded while the number of inmates have also been increasing, some prisons do not even have vehicles. Very few vehicles are in operation in several prisons and budget for vehicular maintenance is not adequate.

“The government must allocate enough budget for prison houses as there is a problem of taking inmates to the hospital, court and quasi-judicial bodies on time,” it said.

“Immediately implement the system of exemption from punishment in accordance with the law to protect the right to life of senior citizens and other chronically ill patients in prisons and reconstruct prisons that are very old, dilapidated and damaged by the 2015 earthquakes,” it said.