We, the participants to the Forum on the Participation of NGOs in the 44th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights held in Abuja, Federal Republic of Nigeria from 7th to 9th November, 2008,
Concerned by the instances of torture perpetrated and overlooked by the governments
of certain African states, and the slow pace of prison reform,
Recommend to the ACHPR to:
1. Urge States to domesticate regional and international human rights instruments
with a view to the criminalisation of torture.
2. Encourage training of judges, prosecutors, police, lawyers, prison officers, health
professionals and other relevant agents on the prohibition of torture and the
implementation of the Robben Island Guidelines and other international and
regional human rights instruments.
3. Urges State parties to ensure funding and support for the rehabilitation of torture
victims, their families and communities and to provide victims’ access to justice
4. Urge the Follow-up Committee on the implementation of the Robben Island
Guidelines to provide a training manual on the prevention and prohibition of
torture for agencies such as police, prisons, military, judiciary and other law
5. Urge the Follow-up Committee on the implementation of the Robben Island
Guidelines to facilitate the development of curricula for primary, secondary and
tertiary schools, which should include human rights education and issues of
torture prohibition, prevention, redress and rehabilitation of torture victims.
6. Urge State parties to ratify and implement the Optional Protocol to the UN
Convention Against Torture (OPCAT) as well as opening all places of detention to
independent monitoring bodies.
7. Urge State parties to develop alternatives to imprisonment and to implement
other measurements aimed at reducing overcrowding and torture, cruel,
inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment in prisons and other places of
8. Urge State parties to develop and adopt comprehensive strategic plans for
criminal justice reform, with clear priorities for implementation and resourcing,
bearing in mind that it is only in such a comprehensive framework that torture
can be effectively eradicated. In developing such a plan, to involve civil society
experts and refer to the many guidelines and manuals produced or endorsed by
the African Commission, UN and other agencies.
9. Urge state parties who have not abolished the death penalty to ensure that
prisoners held on death row are held in conditions that respect regional and
10.Urge State parties to close all secret detention centres and to eradicate forced
disappearances, torture and extrajudicial killings within their respective
11.Encourage the African Commission to develop procedure(s) to coordinate the
work of its special mechanisms on cross-cutting issues especially on Torture,
Prison Conditions, Death Penalty, Children, Women, etc.
12.Encourage the African Commission’s Special Mechanisms on Torture and Prisons
to participate actively in the regional and International meetings, workshops and
conferences aimed at prohibition and prevention of torture and improvement of
conditions of detention; and conduct relevant follow-up activities.
Done in Abuja, November 9th, 2008