UHHRU participated at the round table meeting in the Parliament “Medical assistance in penitentiary system. Challenges and directions of reform”

On April 25, 2019 in Ukrainian Parliament the round-table meeting on the topic “Medical assistance in penitentiary system. Challenges and directions of reforms” took place. The meeting was chaired by the Head of Gender Equality and Non-discrimination Subcommittee of Committee on Human Rights, National Minorities and Interethnic Relations, Iryna Suslova and Head of Penitentiary System Reform, Law Enforcement and Probation Agencies Subcommittee, of Committee on Legislative Support of Law Enforcement, Yuriy Miroshnichnko.

UHHRU Executive Director Oleksandr Pavlichenko spoke at the round table meeting. During 2018 and beginning of 2019 UHHRU carried out a number of monitoring missions to the penitentiary institutions and pretrial detention establishments in the framework of the project “Development of the legal network for protection of the people living with HIV/AIDS, representatives of key PLHIV communities and persons ill with TB”. The recommendations developed in the process of monitoring were reported during the presentation and were recognized as very important for further reform of penitentiary system in Ukraine.

Oleksandr Pavlichenko (UHHRU): “At the round-table meeting in the Parliament “Medical Assistance in Penitentiary Establishments”, I dwelled on the challenges characteristic of healthcare services provision to the convicts in the Ukrainian penitentiary system.

Based on the results of recent visits to the penitentiary facilities and pretrial detention centers, I pointed out very specific problems encountered by the healthcare facilities in the penitentiary establishments. First of all, this is an absence of licenses for providing medical assistance. All surgeries, as well as the rest of healthcare services, due to the “reform” of the system of healthcare services provision in the penitentiary establishments and pretrial detention facilities are provided without licenses, in other words, frankly speaking illegally.

Iryna Suslova and Oleksandr Pavlichenko (UHHRU)

Likewise, there are no licenses for procurement and storage of the drug-containing substances and strong painkillers, which are necessary for healthcare facilities carrying out surgeries.

Other important issue is staffing of the healthcare facilities in the penitentiary facilities. The level of problems related to shortage of staff appears to be different in different institutions, but in the majority of penitentiary establishments visited by UHHRU monitors this was a problem, which was raised by the managers of the healthcare establishments.

Release of the convicts which cannot serve the sentence because of the health condition was stressed as a separate issue as well as real situation with release of such convicts according to Article 82 of CCU.

And finally, the issue of children staying in pretrial penitentiary establishments where their mothers are kept waiting for the court decision was raised. Currently no funds are provided for stay of such children, and funds for buying pampers or baby food are not envisaged in the budgets of penitentiary establishments.

Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union implements the project “Development of the legal network for protection of the people living with HIV/AIDS, representatives of key PLHIV communities and persons ill with TB” with the financial support of the Charitable organization “All-Ukrainian Network of the People Living with HIV/AIDS” in the framework of implementation of the project “Releasing the Burden of TB and HIV infection through creation of the open access to timely and quality diagnostics and treatment of the TB and its resistant forms, expanding evidence based prevention, diagnostic and treatment of HIV infection, and creation of stable and sustainable health protection systems”, which is implemented with the financial support of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.

Picture from FB page of Yulya Paskevska and Anna Vorontsova

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