The first film about the Bangkok Rules was premiered at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 17 October 2013. Titled “The Bangkok Rules: UN Standards for Women in Prison”, it was commissioned by the Thailand Institute of Justice and produced by Two Hands Free.

The United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial measures for Women Offenders, or the Bangkok Rules, are an important international instrument to respond to the gender-specific needs of women.

The documentary provides concrete examples of the efforts being made globally to implement the Bangkok Rules, and demonstrates that women’s needs in the criminal justice system are the same, regardless of language, culture or nationality. It shows prison settings and experiences from many different countries and regions.

Her Royal Highness Princess Bajrakityabha gave a keynote speech, and Ambassador Adisak Panupong (TIJ Executive Director) introduced the documentary; both explained their personal interests and activities in improving the criminal justice system in Thailand. Her Royal Highness was the driving force behind the Bangkok Rules which were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2010. Three years on, representatives of member states, NGOs, and civil society, met to increase awareness of the Bangkok Rules – through film.

Following the screening, audience members asked questions of a distinguished panel of representatives from the TIJ, the Academic Council on the United Nations System (Vienna) and Penal Reform International. The discussion mostly focused around how to better implement and raise awareness of the Bangkok Rules and the importance of conducting research to better understand the needs of women in the criminal justice system.

The documentary is proving to be an important tool in the promotion and implementation of the Bangkok Rules.