Under Secretary Sarah Sewall Joins UN Rollout of Global Standards for Treatment of Prisoners

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
October 7, 2015

Today, Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Sarah Sewall spoke at the United Nations (UN) launch of the revised Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (SMRs), the first update to the SMRs in 60 years. These international non-binding standards, which will guide nations’ practices around the world, are known as the “Mandela Rules” in honor of the late South African president who spent many years in Robben Island prison. In 2012, the United States joined South Africa and others in a multi-year process to update the SMRs, which will culminate in UN General Assembly adoption of the revised Standards this fall.

Other international dignitaries who spoke at this high-level UN event include Mogens Lykketoft, President of the UN General Assembly, Yury Fedotov, Director of the UN Office of Drugs and Crime, and senior-level justice officials from several nations.

Under Secretary Sewall highlighted U.S. cooperation with other nations to support corrections systems reforms, in order to better safeguard human rights, promote reintegration into society, and prevent and counter violent extremism.

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