Qatar has stressed the importance of improving prison conditions in light of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak by ensuring a healthy and safe environment while reducing overcrowding. This came in a speech delivered by Qatar's ambassador to Austria and the permanent representative to the United Nations and international organisations in Vienna, Sultan bin Salmeen al-Mansouri, in a meeting organised by the United Nations Office in Vienna on drugs and crime on the occasion of the Nelson Mandela International Day, which falls on July 18 every year.
Al-Mansouri said that all countries should ensure that preparedness and response to Covid-19 in prisons comply with Nelson Mandela Rules. During the meeting, attended by South African Justice Minister Ronald Lamola, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Ghada Waly, and accredited ambassadors in Vienna, he added that Qatar is proud to support the Global Programme for the implementation of the Doha Declaration, given that the rehabilitation of prisoners through providing education, vocational training and work modules is one of the four main pillars of the programme.
In the context of the rehabilitation of prisoners, he pointed out that the Global Programme for the implementation of the Doha Declaration provided technical and medical assistance as well as guidance and other materials to 11 countries to prevent the spread of the pandemic and control it in prisons.
Al-Mansouri concluded by saying that it is the first time in modern history that the international community finds itself united against a common threat, which is Covid-19, calling for turning the challenges of the pandemic into opportunities through strong commitment and solidarity. And this includes the most vulnerable groups in the societies, who are prisoners, as well as through the promotion of joint action to ensure an equitable distribution of necessary medicines and medical equipment to all countries.