Kananga: MONUSCO and UNDP build capacity of prison staff

Kananga: MONUSCO and UNDP build capacity of prison staff. Photo MONUSCO/Laurent Sam OUSSOU

12 Sep 2019

Kananga: MONUSCO and UNDP build capacity of prison staff

Laurent Sam OUSSOU

Thirty-seven (37) prison staff members, including 17 women, of the Central Prison of Kananga on Monday, September 9, 2019, received training on maintaining order in the prison environment. The training course, which lasted 21 days, was financially supported by the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

The Kananga Central Prison managers said this training was useful in that it represents an important step toward addressing certain weaknesses in the management of this prison, where there had been several incidents of escapes of inmates a few months ago.

According to the head of the Justice Division, "the first six months of 2019, at the Kananga prison, were marked by mutinies with violence visited on the prison staff, and by escape attempts, the most serious of which was the mass escape on May 8, 2019. "

A number of actions had been undertaken to resolve this situation. The advocacy of the MONUSCO Correction Administration Support Unit resulted in the transfer, by the provincial government, of the mutiny leaders to other prisons and the replacement of staff in charge of the Kananga Central Prison administration and security.

These new prison officers needed training, it was decided after a joint inspection visit by MONUSCO, UNDP and the Provincial Minister of Justice.

The training course consisted of 11 modules designed to enable the participants to master the rules governing the profession of custodial/prison staff, including how to maintain prison order and prevent escapes and other security incidents.

Prison staff were also trained in how to avoid ill-treatment and other human rights violations, and how to improve the health and hygiene awareness of prisoners and ensure their protection.

This training support from the United Nations, said the Provincial Minister of Justice, “is commendable in that it helps to strengthen the prison administration in Kasai Central and plays an important role in promoting the human rights of detainees”. He therefore encouraged the United Nations, through MONUSCO and UNDP, to continue this effort.

Célestine Assuie, representing the MONUSCO Head of Office in the Kasai region, said that MONUSCO, within the limits of its mandate, stands ready to accompany Kasai Central in its efforts.

This training was co-financed by MONUSCO and UNDP, which did so through its "Peace, Justice, Reconciliation and Reconstruction" project.