Life within bars


The photographs spoke about the condition of prisoners in various jails of the nation. Brilliant use of light and shadow, the realistic approach towards the conditions of prisons and the candid presentation received accolades from the visitors present at the photo exhibition ‘Prisons and the Rights of Detainees’ organised by of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal (OHCHR-Nepal) at the Nepal Art Council on December 9. The photographs were taken by photographer Kiran Pandey at various prisons — Mahottari prison, Siraha prison, Central jail, Dhulikhel prison, Juvenile Correction Centre Home and Dillibazar prison.

Richard Bennett, OHCHR Representative to Nepal, who was the chief guest inaugurated the exhibition at which Bhola Shivakoti, Director General of Prison Management Department was also present.

In September 2007, OHCHR-Nepal and International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) had organised a workshop on the management of prisons and prisoners. At that workshop participants from Prison Management Department, jailers from 11 main prisons in Nepal and members of the Prison Reform Suggestion Committee drafted recommendations for improvement of prison system in Nepal. This exhibition was organised to encourage the government, stakeholders and other national and international organisations in Nepal to improve the condition of prisons in Nepal.

Photographer Pandey said, “I was nervous at first and reluctant to take out the camera. But after I started communicating with them, it was easier for all of us to bring out their candid moments,” he said, adding “I wish I had more time to interact with them. It would have been better.”

He said most of the buildings were in a bad state. “They are living in such small spaces, but they do have facilities, like the Dillibazar prison has washing machine and computer for the prisoners,” he said. Natalie de Oliveria, Human Rights Officer of OHCHR-Nepal said, “This exhibition is to let the authority concern-ed and public see the condition of Nepali prisons. We hope the message rea-ches all.” The exhibition is on till December 13. — HNS