Antananarivo/Moroni (ICRC) – Some 30 representatives of government institutions, technical services, civil society and potential donors are gathering in Moroni today to discuss the application in the Comoros of international standards and recommendations concerning the construction of places of detention. The round table is being organized jointly by the justice ministry and by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Because of the rise in the prison population and the condition of existing facilities, it was seen as necessary to bring people together to discuss an upgrade of prison facilities.
Urgent work was recently undertaken by the ICRC, in cooperation with the Comoros Red Crescent, to refurbish the Moroni detention centre. In particular, a visiting room was built to enable detainees and their families to meet in better conditions. Showers, latrines and a water supply system were also added in order to improve hygiene and access to water. In addition, new cooking zones are currently under construction.
"This round table is an opportunity for the ICRC to share its know-how in the construction, renovation and expansion of prison infrastructure with the Comorian authorities," said Jean-Marcel Kavaruganda, an ICRC water engineer. "The prison administration shouldn't have to examine the issue all by itself. It's essential that everyone involved in detention-related activities take part in defining what tomorrow's prison facilities will be in this country."
Throughout the day, discussions of the issues raised by the renovation, expansion or new construction of prison facilities are likely to highlight the importance of emphasizing the context and real needs if the facilities are to be properly functional.