If you are developing legislation or a policy or a program that involves detention, you should refer to the conditions and circumstances of detention outlined in the international standards of detention. The international standards are part of international law and may be used when interpreting human rights under s. 32(2) of the Charter.

These international standards are set out in the following instruments:

  • UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners;
  • UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons Under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment;
  • UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials;
  • UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials;
  • UN Principles of Medical Ethics relevant to the role of health personnel, particularly physicians, in the protection of prisoners and detainees against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
  • UN Principles for the Protection of Persons with Mental Illness and the Improvement of Mental Health Care.

Various international human rights instruments also set out minimum requirements in relation to child detainees. This is discussed in relation to s. 23 of the Charter.

These instruments are all available on the Internet.209

You will also need to consider whether training is required to enable staff to comply with the legislation, policy or program you are reviewing or developing.

If you are reviewing a policy, a program or legislation that creates an exception to the requirements for segregation of prisoners ensure that any exception is ‘reasonably necessary’.



209 These documents are all available at http://www.unhchr.ch/>, which is the website of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Go to ‘International Law’ near the top of the page and then scroll down to the heading ‘Human Rights in the Administration of Justice: Protection of Persons Subjected to Detention or Imprisonment’.