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Statement of UNODC Executive Director on Nelson Mandela Day


18 July 2017

Nelson Mandela Day offers an opportunity to reflect on prisoner rights and the importance of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the
Nelson Mandela Rules).

Prisoners should never be ignored in efforts to strengthen the rule of law, improve criminal justice systems and make societies resilient to the ravages of drugs, crime, corruption and terrorism. 

Prisoners remain part of society; they deserve respect, they warrant dignity, and they demand human rights.

Throughout the world, prisoners experience violence, devastating health risks – in the form of HIV and hepatitis – and may be exposed to radicalization to violence.

The Nelson Mandela Rules are a blueprint for prison management to address these issues, and provide solutions based on the core principles of security, safety and dignity within all prisons and for all prisoners. 

UNODC supports such action by strengthening prison management, helping to raise prison standards and ensuring the reintegration of prisoners upon their release.

Prisons globally are overcrowded and lacking in resources, equipment and trained personnel.

It is the dignity and rights of prisoners, as well as our shared humanity that suffer most.

On Nelson Mandela Day, UNODC will continue to confront these challenges and turn the powerful words of the Nelson Mandela Rules into bold and committed action.

For further information, please contact:

David Dadge
Spokesperson, UNODC
Telephone: (+43 1) 26060-5629
Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-5629
Email: david.dadge[at]

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