Timeline of the SMR Reivew Process

TIMELINE OF THE SMR REVIEW PROCESS (IN REVERSE CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER)

Third Intergovernmental Expert Group Meeting, scheduled for March 25-28, 2014, Vienna, Austria

To facilitate the work of the third expert group meeting, the Secretariat to the Governing Bodies of the UNODC (Secretariat) is in the process of preparing a working paper that integrates all submissions from Member States received until 30 September 2013. The UN Committee against Torture, the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment of Punishment, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Friends World Committee for ConsultationPenal Reform International in cooperation with Essex University, and the Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS) in association with Conectas Derechos Humanos have also submitted documents for the event.

Resolution from the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice on the SMRs, April 26, 2013:

The Secretariat published a report discussing the conclusions of the second Intergovernmental Expert Group Meeting and presented it to the twenty-second session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPJ). In response to the report, the CCPJ created a  resolution extending the mandate of the intergovernmental expert meeting and authorizing it to continue its work. The resolution invited Member States to continue to engage in the revision process by submitting proposals for revision in the nine areas identified to the UNODC. A compilation of these documents will be used as material for the third expert meeting that will be hosted by the Austrian government in Vienna in March 2014.

Second Intergovernmental Expert Group Meeting, Bueons Aires, Argentina, December 11-13, 2012:

In this meeting the Intergovernmental Expert Group identified the specific issues and rules considered under each preliminary area.  The Secretariat prepared a working paper  that examined the preliminary areas in light of subsequently adopted international instruments, standards and norms, recognized the guidelines and principles; identified relevant rules in the Standard Minimum Rules which may be revised; and outlined proposals, under each preliminary area, to be discussed among the Member States.

A summary of discussions by the UN Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture (SPT), as well as the final report on the second meeting can also be accessed here.

Resolution from the CCPJ on the SMR, February 15, 2012:

The Secretariat produced a report summarizing the work of the first Intergovernmental Expert Group to the twenty-first session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPJ), which approved a resolution that was adopted by the General Assembly. Paragraph 8 of the resolution authorized the Intergovernmental Expert Group to continue its work under the mandate and to report on its progress to the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice at its twenty-second session in 2013.

First Intergovernmental Expert Group Meeting, Vienna, Austria, January 31–February 2, 2012:

The Intergovernmental Expert Group recognized that some of the principles of the SMRs needed to be reviewed and identified several preliminary areas for consideration. Click here to see the complete report. In order to assist the work of the intergovernmental group, the Secretariat prepared a working paper, which, for each of the Rules, identified the advances in internationally recognized good practice and discussed references to recent international instruments.

INDEPENDENT CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE REVIEW PROCESS

Independent Expert Meeting, Essex, UK, October 2012:

The Detention, Rights and Social Justice Program at the University of Essex and Penal Reform International convened an independent expert meeting on the proposed reform and produced documentation on the outcomes.

International Expert meeting convened by the Special Rapporteur on Torture, Oxford, UK, July 10, 2013:

Experts meet in Oxford to discuss the SMR review process and inform the SRT for his thematic report

Experts meet in Oxford to discuss the SMR review process and inform the SRT for his thematic report

In preparation of this thematic report, the SRT hosted an international expert consultation on July 10, 2013 in Oxford to discuss the ongoing revision process of the SMRs and explore the different areas of the SMRs that are relevant to the international prohibition of torture and ill treatment and that demand revision. The meeting was co-sponsored by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the American University Washington College of Law Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law’s Anti-Torture Initiative, and the Oxford Martin Programme on Human Rights for Future Generations at the University of Oxford.

Latest news on the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners!

“Mandela Rules” Passed, Standards on the Treatment of Prisoners Enhanced for the 21st Century

“Mandela Rules” Passed, Standards on the Treatment of Prisoners Enhanced for the 21st Century

Last week saw the welcome passage of a landmark resolution at the recent Vienna Crime Congress endorsing the revised Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (SMR). The revised standards will be known as the “Mandela Rules” in honor of the legacy of the late South African President. As the primary international standards relating to treatment in detention, the updated Rules expressly emphasize the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment and the fact that prisoners must be protected from such practices and treated with respect due to their inherent dignity and value as human beings. The Rules also impose substantial limitations on the use of prolonged and prolonged solitary solitary confinement. In a statement prior to the start of the Vienna Crime Congress, Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Mendez called for the adoption of the Mandela Rules, saying that their adoption and prospective implementation “reinforces human rights principles and provides greater protection for persons deprived of their liberty, updated procedural safeguards, and more effective guidance to national prison administrations.” To learn more about the Special Rapporteur and the ATI’s involvement in the SMR revision process, visit our page dedicated to this topic.

UN expert calls for adoption of a minimum set of fundamental human rights for those in detention

UN expert calls for adoption of a minimum set of fundamental human rights for those in detention

May 18, 2015 – Today, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez called for the adoption of the revised Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, proposed for adoption as the “Mandela Rules,” in an open letter to the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. The Rules are being considered by the 24th session Commission this week in Vienna, and the adoption of a Resolution on the Rules this week will enable the Rules to proceed forward and be considered by the UN General Assembly in December 2015. The revised Rules contain a number of practical elements that provide detainees with increased protection from torture and other ill-treatment, such as a specific prohibition on the use of prolonged solitary confinement, which is defined as that exceeding 15 days. “The time is now to adopt the revised Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners; anything less would send a negative signal to the international community,” the Special Rapporteur stated. “The adoption and implementation of these rules reinforces human rights principles and provides greater protection for persons deprived of their liberty, updated procedural safeguards, and more effective guidance to national prison administrations,” he explained. The revised Rules also include key safeguards such as the recognition of the absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; and requirements for independent healthcare professionals who have a duty to refrain from participating in torture or other ill-treatment, and have a vital role in detecting such ill-treatment and reporting it. However, the Special Rapporteur warned that “[r]egrettably, there is a lack of guidance on the use of force in the revised Rules which gives rise to the risk that excessive force may be used by prison guards and which, under appropriate circumstances, constitutes cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.” In addition, he noted that the proposed naming of the Mandela Rules would serve to “honour the great Statesman and inspirational leader who served many years in prison in the name of freedom and democracy, by ensuring that all those deprived of their liberty are guaranteed a minimum set of fundamental human rights.” You can read the press release and open letter in full on the OHCHR website.