Kurdistan, ICRC sign 2-year agreement to develop prison health plan

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) signed an initial agreement for a plan to increase and develop health care in its correctional facilities with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Tuesday, said KRG Health Minister in a press conference later in the day.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) signed an initial agreement for a plan to increase and develop health care in its correctional facilities with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Tuesday, said KRG Health Minister in a press conference later in the day.

“Today, we are signing an advanced project to improve health services at correctional facilities for convicts,” said Minister Saman Barznjy to reporters. 

“The objective of the project is to increase the level of health among detainees,” he added, explaining that the program would include providing training sessions at multiple facilities, including those for juveniles facilities.

“ICRC has been supervising the health situation and that’s great for us because we are going through economic hardship and a public health crisis,” added Barzinjy.

Among other health-related issues that the international organization focuses on with nations of the world, the ICRC “aims to secure humane treatment and conditions of detention for all detainees, regardless of the reasons for their arrest and detention.”

Hisham Mandubi, the group's representative in Erbil, describes the project as “important,” adding, “We hope to see its results after two years,” the duration of the proposed plan.

Barzinjy said that the budget will be primarily spent on training, maintenance, medication, and other services throughout the autonomous region's correctional facilities.

He also made a point to praise the ICRC's various initiatives in the Kurdistan Region, specifically “providing health teams for refugee camps and correctional facilities,” describing them as “humanitarian” actions, as well as for providing face masks and medical necessities for prisons and correctional facilities to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

So far, Kurdistan Region officials have announced no confirmed cases of the highly infectious disease among inmates at in any detention facilities.

In early April, The KRG has ordered that hundreds of pretrial detainees be released until their court dates to prevent outbreaks, especially in light of the fact that current health crisis has brought most judiciary functions to a halt. 

Read More: Kurdistan orders release of hundreds of detainees amid coronavirus fears

A total of 2,655 cases have been confirmed since the disease first appeared in the Kurdistan Region, including 59 deaths, 1,104 recoveries, and 1,492 active cases remaining, according to the most recent government figures. 

In late May, the region's health and interior ministers announced another agreement to launch a German-sponsored program to recruit and train health volunteers who are taking part in the fight against the coronavirus.

Editing by John J. Catherine