U.N. rights expert cites violence in Latin prisons

A senior United Nations human rights official has voiced concern over a wave of violence inside prisons in South America, where at least eight inmates have been killed in the past two weeks in four separate countries.

Three prisoners died in Uruguay, two in Argentina, two in Venezuela and one in Chile, the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights reported Wednesday. A video has also emerged showing a handcuffed female prisoner in Brazil who had just given birth.

Amerigo Incalcaterra, the high commission’s regional representative for South America, issued a statement expressing concern about the situation in a region where the rate of prison overcrowding ranges from 30 per cent to 70 per cent.

“These events reflect an alarming pattern of prison violence in the region, which is a direct consequence of – or is aggravated by – among others, poor conditions of detention, including chronic prison overcrowding, the lack of access to basic services such as adequate floor space, potable water, food, health care, and lack of basic sanitary and hygienic standards,” he said.

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