Children abused in Uruguayan Prison

URUGUAY: Children abused in Uruguayan Prison:

Howmany more children must suffer?

Geneva, 10 August 2015 - Last week a video was released in the Uruguayan media showing a group of Prison officers violentlycontaining unarmed children in a juvenile detention centre in Montevideo. Someof the children were beaten while handcuffed, and others had respiratoryproblems after being forced out of their cells with the use of a fireextinguisher.

The officials on the videoare members of the Uruguayan syndicate of the Instituto del Niño y Adolescentede Uruguay (SUINAU). They operated in the presence of the president of the syndicatewho described the approach publicly declared as “usual practice”.

“Wehave raised repeated concerns of what appears to be SUINAU’s connivance topractices of violence and reprisals including against those that who havereported and denounced abuses. The depiction in the video is just anillustration of disproportionate use of force. It reaffirms an urgent need toaddress the bigger issues of violence and impunity against children indetention.” declared Gerald Staberock; OMCT Secretary General.

In Uruguay, cases oftorture and ill-treatments of children in detention have been widely documentedby IELSUR and the OMCT. Indeed, last year IELSUR and the OMCT contributed tothe prosecutions of 8 prison officers who had allegedly tortured and abused childrenin custody.

“Childrenshould be safe in prison. Acts of torture or any form of ill-treatment must beeradicated from all juvenile detention centres in Uruguay and elsewhere.The only way forward is that any credible allegation is independently investigatedand those responsible are held to account.” stated Gerald Staberock,OMCT General Secretary.

In light of the recentevidence, the OMCT urges the state of Uruguay to:
(1) Follow-up on thecriminal charges that were presented and ensure that all those responsible forcommitting acts of torture and ill-treatment or any other human rightsviolation in juvenile detention centres are held accountable.

(2) Conduct a comprehensiveindependent inquiry into policies and practices within SUINAU’s to preventfuture violations and to ensure accountability for abuse. This should include allegationsthat employees accused of having committed torture or other abuses, resort toacts of reprisals and that there are attempts to cover-up cases of torture andill-treatment.

(3) Implement as a matterof priority the recommendations from the Committee Against Torture issued tothe authorities in 2014 to create mechanisms of effective civilian oversightand accountability in juvenile detention centres.

(4) Conduct a structural, and comprehensive legal andpolicy reform on the juvenile justice system, prioritizing non-custodialmeasures for children in conflict with the law.

For further informationplease contact:

Astrid Salcedo Pinzon, OMCT Communicationadvisor, asp@omct.org,+41 22 809 49 39

Carolina Barbara, OMCT child rights coordinator, cb@omct.org, +41 22 809 49 38

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