The Working Group focused on two thematic areas namely:
1. Prevention and Prohibition of torture;
2. Prisons and Penal Reforms in Africa.
The group assessed the situation relating to these issues and the status of compliance to these rights in various countries in Africa. It also noted best practices and obstacles faced in realisation of these rights as well as identified strategies to promote effective networking amongst the Working Group and contributing to the work of the Commission. Key recommendations were made by the Working Group to the Commission towards enhancing the promotion and protection of human rights in Africa with respect to prevention of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment, and promotion of Prison and Penal Reform.
The Working Group welcomes the resolutions with respect to Prevention and Prohibition of Torture adopted by the NGO Forum at the 45th Session and further:
1. Urges the Commission to reaffirm the importance of in – country visits and to carry out steps to incorporate and effectively implement activities aimed at prevention of torture within the mandate of the Follow-Up Committee on the Implementation of the Robben Island Guidelines;
2. Urges the Commission to condemn the action of the Government of Zimbabwe on the deportation of the UN SR On Torture, and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Professor Manfred Nowak from Zimbabwe on 28 October 2009 during his visit to carryout his mandate;
3. Calls upon the Commission in particular the Chairperson on the Working group on RIG to carry out a fact finding mission to Zimbabwe on the issue of Torture;
4. Requests the Commission to urge all member states to cooperate with the African Commission and the United Nations mechanisms for promotion and protection of human rights including provision of access for the execution of in-country visits;
5. Urges the Commission to establish an effective mechanism for awareness creation, sensitisation, training and capacity building of Governments and CSOs on torture prevention, documentation and provision of rehabilitation and redress for victims; and
6. Urges the Commission to request member states yet to sign and ratify CAT, OPCAT and all other related Conventions and protocols to do so.
The Working Group commends the Resolution of the Forum on Prisons and Penal Reform in Africa at its 45th Ordinary Session and further:
1. Urges on the Commission especially its Special Rapporteur on Prisons and Condition of Detention in Africa to work closely with Heads of Prisons and Correctional Services in Africa and the newly formed African Correctional Services Association (ACSA) as well as NGOs working on the field to develop sustainable mechanisms to address the problems faced by prisoners, ex- prisoners and prison services in African countries;
2. Urges the Commission to request member states to support the establishment of effective and sustainable prison reforms, including increase in budgetary allocations, establishment of parliamentary and other oversight and support mechanisms towards promoting reforms in the justice and prison sector in their respective countries;
3. Urges the Commission especially the Special Rapporteur on Prisons and Condition of Detention in Africa to collaborate with member state and NGOs to set up mechanisms towards the compilation of compendium on the state of prisons and conditions of detention as well as good prison practice, in Africa.
Done at Banjul, November 9th, 2009