Online phone calls to be tested for Sri Lankan detainees

The International Committee of the Red Cross delegation in Sri Lanka is to support a pilot project for online phone calls for detainees.

The calls will allow detainees to maintain contact with their loved ones, amidst the administrative restrictions that have been put into place.

In a statement issued today, the ICRC said it is concluding its latest round of emergency distributions of hygiene and health-related items in places of detention.

The distributions included reusable masks, PPE kits, chlorine, soap and other hygiene items for the use of inmates and personnel of prisons, police stations and an immigration center.

“People who are detained are likely to be more vulnerable during a medical emergency of this scale. We adapted our activities at the start of the pandemic and we are in coordination with prison authorities ever since”, said the head of the ICRC delegation in Sri Lanka, Loukas Petridis.

“We are committed to continue supporting the detaining authorities to ensure humane conditions and dignified treatment to all detainees in such challenging times”, concluded Loukas Petridis.

The ICRC also donated fabric and accessories to the Department of Prisons to produce reusable masks for detainees. Over 30,000 reusable masks have been produced so far, out of the 40,000 planned in total.

The statement added that in the coming weeks, the ICRC delegation will also support a pilot project for online phone calls for detainees. The calls will allow detainees to maintain contact with their loved ones, amidst the administrative restrictions that have been put into place.

Since March 2020, the ICRC, in coordination with the Ministry of Health, supported the efforts of the Sri Lankan detaining authorities to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading amongst the detainee population. It has provided health and hygiene items and disinfection material that has benefited almost 33,000 people in over 23 prisons, a prison hospital, five police stations and the Mirihana Immigration Detention Centre. (Colombo Gazette)

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