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Access to a doctor

The Human Rights Committee has stated that the protection of detainees requires that each person detained be afforded prompt and regular access to doctors.[1]

The Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment state that ‘a proper medical examination shall be offered to a detained or imprisoned person as promptly as possible after his admission to the place of detention or imprisonment, and thereafter medical care and treatment shall be provided whenever necessary. This care and treatment shall be provided free of charge.’[2] Detainees have the right to request a second medical opinion by a doctor of their choice, and to have access to their medical records.[3] The UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners state that detainees or prisoners needing special treatment must be transferred to specialised institutions or civil hospitals for that treatment.[4]


[1] Human Rights Committee General Comment 20, para. 11.

[2] Principle 24.

[3] Principle 25.

[4] Rule 22(2) of the Standard Minimum Rules.