21 Oct 2020

Upgrade ordered for New Caledonia prison

9:35 am on 21 October 2020

France's highest administrative court has again ordered an urgent upgrade of New Caledonia's insalubrious main prison, Camp-Est.

New Caledonia prison wall

New Caledonia prison wall Photo: RNZ Walter Zweifel

The court has instructed the French prison service to act as soon as possible and remedy conditions which have been described as a serious violation of the fundamental rights of the detainees.

The latest ruling followed one made in February when the prison service was ordered to undertake immediate remedial work at the Camp-Est jail.

Two thirds of the 239 cells are shipping containers to house more than 330 prisoners.

Warnings about the state of the prison's conditions, and an explosive situation for inmates, have been made for many years, without significant improvements.

Last week, the judicial authorities in Noumea found that the conditions violated the terms of the European Human Rights Convention, and in an unprecedented move ordered the release of a remand prisoner.