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Defending Prisoners’ Rights during the Covid-19 Pandemic


15 Jul
Defending Prisoners’ Rights during the Covid-19 Pandemic
Part of The impact of covid-19 on access to justice: stories from the frontline


Prisoners are one of the most vulnerable groups in society in normal times. Safeguarding their rights and health during pandemics such as the COVID-19 represents an even greater challenge. Detention facilities are not adapted to face large-scale epidemics. Measures such as social distancing and hygiene rules cannot be observed as easily as outside, exposing prisoners to greater health risks or complete isolation. There is little or no access to lawyers or justice. In most countries, the pandemic occurs in a context of overcrowding, poor hygiene conditions, unsatisfactory health services and higher rates of chronic diseases among detainees, such as tuberculosis, diabetes and HIV, making them vulnerable to infection.

This event will debate these issues and what can be done about them with three experienced practicing lawyers whose work focuses on advancing the rights of prisoners in Brazil, Colombia and the UK.

Please note this event will be hosted virtually via MS Teams. You will receive the link prior to the event.



Chair: Sue Willman, Assistant Director at King’s Legal Clinic

Opening remarks: Octavio Ferraz, Transnational Law Institute, King's College London

The Colombia perspective - Rommel DURÁN CASTELLANOS: lawyer and Human Rights Defender Comité de Promoción y Acción Jurídica Popular, LLM Universidad Industrial de Santander

The UK perspective - Laura Janes: Legal Director of the Howard League

The Brazil perspective - Mateus Oliveira Moro, public defender in Sao Paulo, co-ordinator of the Specialised Nucleus for the Situation of Prisons - (Núcleo Especializado de Situação Carcerária - NESC)


About King's Legal Clinic

King’s Legal Clinic (KLC) is part of The Dickson Poon School of Law’s. KLC has two central aims: to promote social and economic justice; and to enhance the education of our students by giving them the opportunity to work on live cases under the supervision of qualified lawyers.


KLC aims to promote social and economic justice through a range of activities including; providing free legal advice to members of the public through its Legal Advice Clinic; and working with local and international organisations on research and justice projects.


The Legal Advice Clinic, working alongside leading law firms, offers advice in areas including Intellectual Property Law, Family Law, Environment and Human rights law, Housing, Employment law and Immigration law.

KLC also collaborates with a range of other organisations to provide services to the community including; providing tribunal representation, via The Zacchaeus 2000 Trust ('Z2K'), to people across London appealing decisions about their disability benefit; working with Islington Law Centre on the Article 8 ECHR project which providing substantive representation to migrant families seeking to remain in the U.K on human rights grounds; the Protea Clinic provides immigration advice to vulnerable migrant women working alongside Hibiscus Initiatives and Hammersmith and Fulham Law Centre; support to litigants in person via Support Through Court; the Freedom Law Clinic which investigates potential wrongful criminal convictions; and Streetlaw, where students research a specific area of law and then present the information to the community in a way that helps them better understand the law and how it affects them.

Follow King’s Legal Clinic on Twitter @kcllegalclinic

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