United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the
Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules)


Officials,16 the 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, 17 the Basic
Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, 18 the
Principles on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other
Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment 19 and the United Nations
Principles and Guidelines on Access to Legal Aid in Criminal Justice Systems,20
Aware of regional principles and standards related to the treatment of
prisoners, including the Principles and Best Practices on the Protection of Persons
Deprived of Liberty in the Americas, the revised European Prison Rules, the
Kampala Declaration on Prison Conditions in Africa, 21 the Arusha Declaration on
Good Prison Practice22 and the Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Fair Trial
and Legal Assistance in Africa,
Recalling its resolution 65/230 of 21 December 2010, entitled “Twelfth United
Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice”, in which it requested
the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice to establish an openended intergovernmental expert group to exchange information on best practices, as
well as national legislation and existing international law, and on the revision of
existing United Nations standard minimum rules for the treatment of prisoners so
that they reflect recent advances in correctional science and best practices,
Recalling also its resolutions 67/188 of 20 December 2012, 68/190 of
18 December 2013 and 69/192 of 18 December 2014, entitled “Standard Minimum
Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners”, in particular resolution 68/190, in which it
took note with appreciation of the work done by the Expert Group on the Standard
Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, and resolution 69/192, in which it
emphasized that efforts should be made to finalize the revision process, building on
the recommendations made at the three meetings of the Expert Group and the
submissions of Member States,
Mindful that, in its resolution 68/190, it took into consideration the
recommendations of the Expert Group with regard to the issues and the rules of the
Standard Minimum Rules that had been identified for revision in the following areas:
(a) Respect for prisoners’ inherent dignity and value as human beings
(rules 6, para. 1; 57–59; and 60, para. 1),

Medical and health services (rules 22–26; 52; 62; and 71, para. 2),

(c) Disciplinary action and punishment, including the role of medical staff,
solitary confinement and reduction of diet (rules 27, 29, 31 and 32),
(d) Investigation of all deaths in custody, as well as of any signs or
allegations of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of prisoners
(rule 7 and proposed rules 44 bis and 54 bis),
Resolution 34/169, annex.
Resolution 37/194, annex.
18 Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, Havana,
27 August–7 September 1990: report prepared by the Secretariat (United Nations publication, Sales
No. E.91.IV.2), chap. I, sect. B.2, annex.
19 Resolution 55/89, annex.
20 Resolution 67/187, annex.
21 Economic and Social Council resolution 1997/36, annex.
22 Economic and Social Council resolution 1999/27, annex.


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