Facing budget shortfalls and aging infrastructure, prisoners in Ukraine face not only the sentence handed down by the judicial system but also the extra hardship from the conflict.
More than 570 people detained in relation to the conflict in prisons run by the Ukrainian authorities have been visited by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The overall number of detainees reaches around 70.000 detainees.
The ICRC regularly visits Ukrainian prisons to ensure that the treatment of detainees is in line with national and international standards and is concerned by the conditions where, in many cases, people don’t have basic essentials like soap and toothpaste.
“We visit all of the facilities used for and by the detainees to evaluate the material and psychological conditions of detention,” says ICRC’s Chyngyz Rayimbekov.
For the first time since the beginning of the conflict in the Donbas, people detained in Ukrainian prisons are receiving much needed assistance from the ICRC.
The ICRC, in close cooperation with the Ministry of Justice and local prison officials, works to secure adequate conditions through the distribution of aid packages, medical equipment or material to repair parts of prison buildings.
“People who come to our prison see the situation in which we now find ourselves with the prisoners,” Col. Aleksandr Iskra, director of a prison in Dnipro. “There are problems in our system and it is good that the Red Cross can help.”
So far, 22,5 tons of hygiene items including shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, toilet paper, sanitary towels have been delivered to 22 places of detention under Ukrainian authorities in 14 regions. In December 2016, hygiene items have also been handed over to benefit detainees on the other side of the frontline, in territories not under the control of the Ukrainian government.
“This is our first substantial support to this facility, which we look to develop further in the future. These items are essential to support the efforts of the authorities in ensuring adequate conditions of detention – most notably the living conditions of the prison population, as well as health care,” says Rayimbekov. Wheelchairs, crutches, hospital beds and other medical equipment were delivered.
“This, he says, “will be essential to support, and to compliment, the efforts of the authorities in ensuring adequate conditions of detention – most notably the living conditions, such as sanitation and hygiene to the prison population, as well as prison health care.”
Nearer the frontline, the prison in Bakhmut has also received support for its 500 detainees. Here, the ICRC has worked with prison authorities to delivery hygiene supplies to prisoners, and to carry out repairs to the communal bathing facilities as well as the roofing of some of the buildings which was leaking.
The ICRC will continue to work to monitor overall conditions of detention, including hygiene and health facilities, at prisons and to provide much-needed aid supplies and equipment in an effort to improve the daily lives of detainees in Ukraine.
Location: Various (Dnipro and Bakhmut SIZOs)
Format: H264 mov, HD
Production: John Wendle
Sound: English and Russian
ICRC ref: AV585N
Date: December 2016
Copyright: ICRC access all, credit for still photos as stated below
00:00 An ICRC delivery truck backs up to the SIZO prison facility (Dnipro).
00:07 Prison guards stand as the gate to the prison opens, revealing the delivery truck and the ICRC logo (Dnipro).
00:14 Inmates unload hygiene boxes (Dnipro).
00:21 Close up of hygiene boxes as prisoners unload them (Dnipro).
00:28 Prisoners load boxes into the back of the prison truck (Dnipro).
00:35 Prison truck pulling through security gate loaded with hygiene boxes (Dnipro).
00:42 Prison guard locking security gate with lock (Dnipro).
00:49 SOUNDBITE (in English) Chyngyz Rayimbekov, Detention team leader in Bakhmut:
This is our first substantial support to this facility, which we look to develop further in the future.
00:56 SOUNDBITE (in English) Rayimbekov in Bakhmut:
So, we’re donating some 500 hygiene parcels to the facility. Each of the parcels contains the most essential hygiene items that any person would need in a normal life at home. These items are shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, toilet paper, sanitary towels. These items are important to support the detainees daily hygiene needs.
01:19 SOUNDBITE (in English) Rayimbekov in Bakhmut:
These items are important to support the detainees’ daily hygiene needs.
01:26 SOUNDBITE (in English) Rayimbekov in Bakhmut:
So, we’re donating this medical equipment to support the functioning of the prison medical ward. The need for these items has been identified during our previous visits, involving the participation of the ICRC medical doctor and in cooperation with the prison health responsibles.
01:49 SOUNDBITE (in English) Rayimbekov in Bakhmut:
The medical inventory consists of a wide range of material, such as: hospital beds with full sets of bedding, stetoscopes, height meters, weighing scales, and essential orthopedic, and also essential orthopedic items, such as walking frames, crutches and commode chairs.
02:16 Prisoners carrying hygiene boxes into warehouse (Dnipro).
02:23 Prisoners carrying hygiene boxes into storeroom and stacking them (Dnipro).
02:30 A hygiene box is opened (Dnipro).
02:37 Prison guard opens gate for Chyngyz and they enter the cell block (Dnipro).
02:41 General shot inside a cell (Dnipro).
02:48 A sink in a cell (Dnipro).
02:55 A prisoner stirs food in the kitchen (Dnipro).
03:02 Food being stirred by a prisoner (Dnipro).
03:09 Close up of a prisoner stirring food (Dnipro).
03:16 A prisoner washes dishes in the kitchen (Dnipro).
03:23 Close up of prisoner’s hands washing pots in water (Dnipro).
03:30 Prisoner looking out a window in the chapel (Dnipro).
03:37 View out the window of the chapel (Dnipro).
03:44 SOUNDBITE (in Russian) Col. Aleksandr Iskra, Director of Dnipro Prison No.6:
People who come to our prison see the situation in which we now find ourselves with the prisoners. There are certain problems in our system, and it is good that people from the Red Cross, they come to us and help in certain situations (Dnipro).
04:13 Col. Iskra signs an agreement document as Chyngyz looks on (Dnipro).
04:20 Close up of hands and pen as he signs the document (Dnipro).
04:27 The colonel hands the agreement to Chyngyz (Dnipro).
04:34 Close up of watch tower in prison yard (Dnipro).
04:41 Prison guard watching from watch tower (Dnipro).
04:48 View of prison grounds (Dnipro).
04:55 Barbwire fence.
05:02 SOUNDBITE (in English) Alexander Griff, Deputy Protection Coordinator in Kiev:
At the end of 2016 we’ve delivered medical and non-medical assistance to over 20 places of detention, trying to show that we are not only seeing the problems, but we also want to solve them.
For further information:
Sanela Bajrambasic, ICRC Kiev, tel. +38 067 509 42 06
Follow the ICRC on facebook.com/icrc and twitter.com/icrc