World Prison Awareness Day
MDD (Malta, Europe)
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This is an invitation to support the official establishment by the United Nations of a day dedicated to prisoners around the world.
The main aim of the WORLD PRISON AWARENESS DAY is to highlight human rights issues in relation to the incarceration, detention, imprisonment, confinement, custody, captivity and/or internment of people for whatever reason, just or unjust, on remand or sentenced, around the world.
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Why commemorate a Prison Awareness Day?
There are over NINE MILLION prisoners around the world. More than A MILLION of these are children below the age of eighteen. More than HALF A MILLION prisoners worldwide are women and girls. Most prisoners around the world live in appalling and desperate conditions and suicides and self-harm in prison every year run in the thousands. More and more prisoners worldwide are abusively worked as slaves. Political, religious and conscientious prisoners are still held in various parts of the world. Virtually all prisoners are at the mercy of methods of surveillance that serve more the governments that pay their upkeep than the people they are supposed to serve. A Prison Awareness Day helps not to forget these millions of people deprived of freedom.
Why hold February 11th?
On 11 February 1990, leading anti-apartheid campaigner and the worlds most celebrated prisoner in contemporary times, NELSON MANDELA, was released after 27 years in jail. He emerged from Victor-Verster Prison in Paarl and was greeted by ecstatic crowds. His release was also welcomed by thousands of jubilant supporters elsewhere in South Africa and around the entire world. Mandelas victory is a SIGN OF HOPE for all prisoners around the world. This is why his date of release is significant for all prisoners around the world and appropriate to be marked as a commemoration of their plight.
Why is support needed?
The United Nations will NOT CONSIDER the possibility of officially declaring an international observation if there isnt sufficient support and endorsement for it from around the world. The UN currently has some 65 international observations. The list includes commemoration dates paying tribute to almost ANYTHING, including World Post Day (9 Oct.), World Television Day (21 Nov.), International Mountain Day (11 Dec.) and many others. Surprisingly enough, NOT ONE OBSERVATION PAYS TRIBUTE TO PRISONERS. Your, and others, support is needed to change this.
We, the undersigned, support the official establishment of the WORLD PRISON AWARENESS DAY, and encourage the United Nations to take the necessary steps to adopt its commemoration. By doing so, we also endorse the philosophy of this initiative, and February 11th as the proper day of its observance.