Ensuring Human Rights: Inauguration of Gender-Responsive Facility for Women Inmates

The Ministry of Justice and UNDP inaugurated women prison block in Gleno, compliant with National and International Human Rights Standards, emphasizing Gender Sensitivity and Resilience against Transmissible Diseases

November 9, 2023

Inauguration of the new women's cell block at Gleno Prison.

Maria Silvia D.R. Lopes/UNDP Timor-Leste

Gleno, 9/11/2023 – UNDP, in partnership with the Ministry of Justice and its Department of Prison Services and Social Reintegration, inaugurated the new women's cell block at Gleno Prison. This initiative falls under the Human Rights Oriented Prison Enhancement for Gender Equality (HOPE for GE) project. The newly renovated facility adheres to national and international prison standards, including the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders (Bangkok Rules) and the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (Nelson Mandela Rules). The primary goal of this renovation is to empower women, facilitate their rehabilitation, and support their reintegration into society as productive members.


Before the renovation, women inmates at Gleno Prison faced several challenges. They had limited access to sanitary and washing facilities, shared crowded living spaces with numerous inmates, and lacked proper facilities for female inmates with children. The renovation has addressed these issues by installing functional sanitary and washing facilities, increasing the number of cells to provide adequate spacing, ensuring accessibility for individuals with disabilities, improving ventilation to reduce the risk of diseases like COVID-19 and tuberculosis, and enhancing lighting for security and reading. Furthermore, specific cells have been created to support women inmates with children.


"We believe that this renewed facility will provide a stable and secure environment for the women who share it and will be a symbol of the unwavering dedication to the principles of justice, gender equality, and human rights of the Timor Leste government, as well as a reaffirmation of its commitment to a more just and equitable society for all Timorese," said UNDP Resident Representative, during the inauguration ceremony.  


This renovation is an integral part of the broader HOPE project, which offers additional support to women pre-trial detainees, inmates, and individuals previously incarcerated. The project includes financial literacy training and vocational training to equip these women with the skills necessary for their reintegration into their communities and financial independence. Women inmates have also received legal assistance, thanks to UNDP partners who have helped them navigate legal matters related to their cases, family situations, visitation rights, and support for programs such as "bolsa da mãe" and "idosos." Moreover, the project has assisted with pardon applications. Training on human rights, gender, sexual harassment, women's special needs, and well-being has been provided to both inmates and correctional officers, fostering a more gender-sensitive environment within Gleno Prison, as it accommodates both male and female inmates. This training expanded further to other correction officers based in Becora and Suai Prison. 


The Minister started his speech by saying "I thank UNDP for supporting the rehabilitation of the Women's block in Gleno prison, so they have more decent space and facilities to use. UNDP has not only supported the prison facilities but has previously provided support to other directorates from the Ministry of Justice."


UNDP aspires to empower women detainees, inmates, and individuals previously incarcerated who face multiple forms of discrimination and unfair treatment in a patriarchal society. The goal is to enhance the rehabilitation and reintegration functions of correctional facilities, benefitting both men and women. This renovation aims to support the human rights of female inmates who have been historically underserved. UNDP is committed to creating a more equitable and inclusive environment, where gender sensitivity prevails.



Contact Information: For media inquiries, please contact: media.tl@undp.org or Nelson Philomeno Rego De Jesus, Access to Justice Project Manager, UNDP, nelson.philomeno.rego.de.jesus@undp.org