High level visit to improved maximum security prison in Seychelles

VICTORIA, SEYCHELLES - The Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) recently visited the new maximum security facilities at Montagne Posée prison, constructed as part of a regional anti-piracy programme.

Mr Yury Fedotov was given a tour of the improved prison facilities on the main island of Mahé. The prison can now accommodate 60 inmates in 20 new cells built to international standards by UNOPS, on behalf of the Government of Seychelles and UNODC.

The high security cell block has been constructed to house inmates who have been convicted of piracy or are awaiting trial on piracy charges.

The improved facilities and increased space for inmates will provide better living conditions and a more secure environment. It will also allow for easier management of the inmate population by prison authorities.

UNOPS has upgraded food preparation areas and procured equipment and training material for the inmates, provided better toilet facilities, built a much needed exercise yard facility and improved the perimeter security fencing.

In addition, building materials and equipment have been provided to enable the prison to undertake maintenance works around the site. UNOPS also procured improved fire fighting equipment that has raised safety standards for inmates and prison personnel. The Executive Director was accompanied on the tour by the Minister for Home Affairs and Transport, Mr Joel Morgan, and a number of other UNODC personnel.

Minister Morgan said: "We are deeply appreciative for the assistance given by the UNODC to improve the Montagne Posée prison and for their continued support to Seychelles in its fight against piracy."

In addition to the maximum security upgrades to Montagne Posée prison, UNOPS is designing and constructing a new courthouse at the nearby Île du Port which will process piracy suspects.

These new facilities are part of a wider programme to combat maritime piracy that UNODC is carrying out in the Horn of Africa and Indian Ocean region that includes activities in Kenya, Mauritius, Somalia and Tanzania. The programme is designed to strengthen the rule of law throughout the region and develop the capacity of the target countries to deter, detain and prosecute pirates.

UNOPS office in Kenya is providing implementation and project management support to UNODC in each of these countries, in close coordination with national authorities, for the construction and rehabilitation of infrastructure, the procurement of necessary equipment, the provision of logistical support and the recruitment and contract administration of essential personnel.

Alan Cole, Programme Coordinator said: "UNODC’s counter piracy programme, now in its fourth year of operation, is continuing to support the criminal justice professionals of states in the region that are dealing with Somali piracy. UNODC is pleased to be delivering training, equipment and logistical assistance to all stages of the programme to ensure that partner countries are able to meet their own high standards of fairness and efficiency."

New courtrooms, police and prison facilities have been built in Mombasa and other coastal regions of Kenya under the programme. Works include new holding facilities for female inmates, new kitchen and recreation areas and in some cases, new water and sanitation services for the prisons.

In Somalia, improvements are underway for prisons and Ministry of Justice buildings at Garowe and Hargeisa with the creation of new infrastructure and the procurement of new equipment.

UNOPS is also in the process of designing a new courthouse in Mauritius to facilitate the improved processing of piracy suspects and construction is scheduled to commence in early 2013.

Apart from the range of infrastructure support provided across the region, UNOPS has provided human resources services for the engagement of legal advisers and prosecution experts, as well as prison experts. This will contribute to the development of national capacities in the region, as part of UNODC’s anti-piracy support programme.