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Organizations submit a report to the UN on violations of the right to health in prisons

The Institute for Religious Studies (ISER), the National Agenda for Extrication, Infovirus and the Criminal Justice Network sent an alternative report on the right to health of persons deprived of liberty for periodic review by Brazil before the Committee on Economic, Social and Committee on Cultural Rights of the United Nations (DESC Committee), a body of the UN system with competence to analyze whether the countries that ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights have been implementing the document's agreements. 

Read the full text in Portuguese.

Read the full text in English (submitted to the UN).

The main objective of the report is to specifically analyze compliance with regard to the right to health and other related rights, considering the reality of people deprived of their liberty during the Covid-19 pandemic. The report also outlines that the referred period was not exceptional, but it intensified structural processes of rights violations in the prison system.

5 recommendations to the UN on the right to health

At the end of the document, we make some recommendations to the ESCR Committee, so that it subsidizes its assessment in relation to the Brazilian State. Among them we highlight:

  1. That the Brazilian State recognize the distortions in official data on the impacts of Covid-19 on the prison system and make every possible effort to produce a balance sheet consistent with reality;
  2. That the Brazilian State develop memory and reparation policies on the impacts of the pandemic on the prison system, taking as a central point the demands of the relatives of people who died under the State's guardianship;
  3. The strengthening of public policies to combat pandemics, epidemics and the spread of infectious and contagious diseases within the prison system must be a priority for the Brazilian State, thus implying the effective implementation of the Unified Health System (SUS) in the prison system, with greater allocation of resources and hiring of technical personnel to make this process viable;
  4. The overcrowding of the prison system results in unhealthy conditions that prevent the realization of the right to physical and mental health. In this sense, the Brazilian judiciary must act in accordance with the principle of exceptionality in prison, enshrined in the Federal Constitution of Brazil and in international human rights standards, implementing all possible measures for release.
  5. The justice system must guarantee the holding of in-person custody hearings throughout the national territory, reversing the dynamics of virtualization of judicial acts that was introduced during the pandemic, and which produces serious violations of the rights of people criminalized by the State.