Irish Penal Reform Trust

Human Rights and Detention in the time of COVID-19: UK and Ireland

29th April 2020

On 29th April 2020, IPRT co-hosted an international online seminar on ‘Human Rights & Detention in the time of COVID-19: UK and Ireland’. We were delighted to join forces with the Zahid Mubarek Trust in the UK to deliver the event. The event focused primarily on prisons and immigration detention.

We welcomed Dr Jens Modvig, Chair of the UN Committee against Torture, as the keynote speaker. The event was expertly Chaired by Professor Nick Hardwick (Royal Holloway, University of London), with input from three specialist respondents:

The event explored topics such as:

  • Detention monitoring during COVID-19 – What is possible? What is ethical?
  • The ‘do no harm’ principle, and how this can be upheld by detention monitors
  • How does the role of civil society change when fewer eyes are on prisons
  • New practices and techniques that should be protected and continued
  • Whether all cases of deprivation of liberty in prisons continue to be proportionate, given pandemic conditions
  • Applying international best practice in local settings

This online seminar was an opportunity for attendees - and us as hosts - to exchange learnings with counterparts overseas. We believe that this cross-jurisdictional information sharing will be key to implementing best practices and progressing reform, even in the face of new challenges. 

This was an invite-only event, for those with a role in detention monitoring. We were delighted to welcome so many expert speakers, as well as attendees from all relevant monitoring bodies in Ireland.

Respect for rights in the penal system with prison as a last resort.



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