Written by Rima Youssef
Translated by Daisy Khalil
Justice, compassion and forgiveness exist, and he who has made a mistake or committed a crime will regret it sooner or later. Whatever the crime, he will feel the presence of God and implore his forgiveness. His pain will turn into an internal wound that will never heal unless he is surrounded by people that help him restore confidence in himself and pave the way towards forgiveness and peace of mind.
The project to reinforce human rights policies in women's prisons in Lebanon was initiated by Diakonia organization, in collaboration with Dar el-Amal, Caritas Lebanon and the Lebanese Women democratic Gathering, upon the approval of the Ministry of Interior and the General Directorate of the Internal Security Forces. This project is currently supported by the European Union and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.
The purpose of this program is organizing a training session for four guards working in four women's prisons in Lebanon (Baabda, Tripoli, Zahle and Barbar el Khazen). The session is comprised of specialists in the field of social work, and aims to provide four prison guards with skills that help them train other caregivers on strengthening human rights and develop their capacity to resolve conflicts.
Media project coordinator Diana Assaf said that the project aims to expose training materials on human rights that comply with international standards and do not apply in the field. For example, the law does not take into consideration pregnant women in prisons and their specific needs.
For her part, Dr. Rania Mansour, who has contributed to the training of caregivers and the success of the training session, considered that she had worked to develop a training manual on three levels: the main guide for training trainers, the publication of the pocket guide and the guide for the management of prisons and a video film on human rights in general and a DVD on the resolution of conflicts in a peaceful manner, without forgetting weak and marginalized persons within the prisons.
Mansour has advocated the integration of training on the rights of prisoners in the curricula of the ISF departments. She finally called for a budget to devote to the training of guards.
One of the guards in Zahle prison, Ghada al Yousef, said in an interview with the NNA that she was very satisfied during the training and had acquired new know-how and terminology.
"We are employees and we treat prisoners according to our experience and the guidance of the Director of the prison who taught us the limits of our powers, our rights and our duties," she said.
Four associations have contributed to the improvement of the method of behavior between prisoners and prison management staff. The ideal solution to the problem of prisons is awareness in societies to spare people offenses that could get them behind bars.
Hopefully Lebanese prisons would soon close their doors, as happened in the Netherlands, because of the lack of criminals.
Written by Rima Youssef