Nelson Mandela International Day, 18 July – UNODC Central Asia celebrates the Nelson Mandela Rules


BISHKEK, 18 July, 2017 - Today, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Programme for Central Asia honors the life, work and accomplishments of Nelson Mandela, former South African President, who spend 27 years in prison in the course of his struggle for human rights, equality, democracy, conflict resolution and reconciliation.

International Nelson Mandela Day is the day that UNODC and partners across  the world celebrate to promote humane conditions of imprisonment, to raise awareness about prisoners being a continuous part of society and to value the important work of prison staff as a social service of particular importance.

Prisoners experience violence, health risks in the form of TB and HIV, high rates of recidivism, as well as emerging threats, such as radicalization to violence in prisons. All of these challenges have added to the complexity of combining security, safety and human dignity within prison systems”, said Vera Tkachenko, UNODC International Programme Manager. “We want to remind that prisoners are a part of the society and they deserve humane treatment, and respect for their dignity as human beings".

As the guardian of the Nelson Mandela Rules, UNODC is responsible for providing technical assistance and advisory services to Member States in the field of penal reform. To achieve this goal, at the 26th session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, UNODC launched a new Global Programme on Addressing Prison Challenges, which aims to reduce the scope of imprisonment; strengthen prison management, help to raise prison standards and ensure the reintegration of prisoners upon their release.    

Well-managed prisons and the treatment of prisoners consistent with international standards and norms for crime prevention and criminal justice is precondition to achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal # 16 promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

International Nelson Mandela Day was established on July 18, 2009 to coincide with Mandela’s birthday, and has since had one simple goal – to help change the world for the better. The day has grown into more than simply a celebration of Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy, and is now a call to continue his work to improve the lives of people everywhere.

In December 2015, the General Assembly resolution A/RES/70/175 adopted the revised United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners in December 2015 as "the Nelson Mandela Rules". The Rules are a blueprint for prison management to address these issues, and provide solutions based on the core principles of security, safety and dignity within all prisons and for all prisoners. The rules resulted from five years of inter-governmental consultations, and represent a landmark harmonization of the original version (1957) with international law and good prison management practices.

During the commemoration of the Nelson Mandela International Day, UNODC holds number of activities: in Kyrgyzstan two football matches to be run – one among prisoners in the penitentiary facility # 47 and second, among prison staff; in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan it is planned to hold meetings to present the revised version of the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (Nelson Mandela Rules).


For additional information please contact Vasilina Brazhko (Ms.),

Communication Officer, UNODC ROCA

Tel.: +996 775 98 78 17, email: