Dominican Republic
14.01.02
Urgent Interventions

Dominican Republic: children in detention have been regularly tortured

CHILD CONCERN
Case DOM 140102.CC
Torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment

The International Secretariat of OMCT requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in Dominican Republic.

Brief description of the situation:

The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by Casa Alianza, a member of the OMCT network, that children have been regularly tortured at the Najayo youth prison in San Cristóbal, Dominican Republic.

According to the information received, the “Dominican Commission for the Reform and Modernization of Justice”, which has been working for several months at the Najayo youth prison, reported on December 10 that the prison guards regularly torture child prisoners, put them in solitary confinement, hang them with handcuffs, and beat them with sticks, clubs, and other objects, leaving them bruised and injured. The report was developed by Dr. Glenys Abreu, former technical coordinator for the prison, who was accompanied by 16 other specialists in human behavior.

According to the information received, no measures have been taken to bring the perpetrators to justice. Amongst 20 guards who have been involved in the cases of torture, 10 still work at the prison and 10 others have been moved to other centers of reeducation for adolescents.

OMCT is gravely concerned for the situation of the afore-mentioned children and recalls that, as a State party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Dominican Republic has to abide by the articles of the Convention. More specifically, article 37 states that “no child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment,” and that “every child deprived of liberty shall be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, and in a manner which takes into account the needs of persons of his or her age.”

OMCT also recalls that, according to the UN Rules for the protection of juveniles deprived of their liberty, the use of solitary confinement as a form of punishment constitutes cruel, degrading and inhuman treatment, and is therefore prohibited.

Action requested:

Please write to the authorities in the Dominican Republic urging them to:

i. put an immediate end to all forms of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, in accordance with national and international legislation;
ii. ensure physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of the child victims of torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment;
iii. guarantee an immediate investigation into the alleged acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, identify those responsible, bring them before a civil competent and impartial tribunal and apply the penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions provided by law;
iv. guarantee respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms in compliance with national laws and international standards, and particularly with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Addresses:

S.E. Ing. Hipolito Mejía, presidente de la República, Palacio Nacional, Santo Domingo, República Dominicana. Fax (+ 1-809) 686 82 04 ó/or 682 23 41 ó/or 682 09 68

Procurador General de la República Dr.Virgilio Bello Rosa, Centro de los Héroes de Constanza, Santo Domingo, República Dominicana.

Secretario de Interior y Policía Dr. Pedro Franco Badia, Huacal, Av. Mexico, Santo Domingo, Républica Dominicana.

Corte Suprema de Justicia, Calle Hipólito Herrera Billini esq. Juan B. Pérez, Centro de los Héroes, Constanza, Maimón y Estero Hondo. Santo Domingo, D.N.,República Dominicana. Apartado Postal 1485. Fax: ( 809 ) 532-2906 E-mail : suprema.corte@codetel.net.do


Please also write to the embassies of the Dominican Republic in your respective country.

Geneva, 14th January 2002

Please inform us of any action undertaken in connection with this case, quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
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