We, the participants to the NGO Forum in preparation of the 47th ordinary session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights,
Concerned by the conditions of places of detention, in particular overcrowding, the lack of access to health, to water and food, the absence of seperation between women and men, juveniles and adults, the lack of adequate prisons and facilities for prisoners with disability, women and their children in clear violation of Article 5 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (“African Charter”);
Alarmed by the lack of prompt access of detainees, especially while in police custody to lawyers, doctors and family members and the insufficient recording of arrested persons kept in police custody;
Concerned by the continuous detention of mentally challenged persons in places of detention in some Member States and the lack of care taken by state officials to ensure that mentally challenged persons receive adequate treatment in medical and psychological facilities;
Preoccupied by the conditions of detention of death row inmates;
Concerned by the long delays in providing detainees with access to justice in violation of Articles 6 and 7 of the African Charter;
Concerned by the continuous existence of illegal places of detention in several Member States;
Alarmed by the widespread and continuous use of torture and ill treatment of people deprived of their liberty by law enforcement officials and state security agents in violation of Articles 4 and 5 of the African Charter;
Condemning the fact that violations of Article 5 of the African Charter are committed in several Member States with complete impunity.
Call on the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to adopt a resolution at its 47th ordinary session held in Banjul from 12th to 26th May 2010:
Urging Member States to improve the conditions of places of detention in line with international human rights standards, in particular the Robben Island Guidelines and the Articles 4 and 5 of the African Charter;
Calling on Member States to immediately ratify the Convention against Torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment (“Convention against Torture”) and to ratify the Optional Protocol thereto;
Calling on Member States to effectively implement the provisions of the Convention against Torture into national legislation and to ensure that national legislation provides for prompt and adequate investigations into allegations of torture and to provide victims of torture with effective remedies;
Calling on Member States to set up National Preventive Mechanisms to ensure full compliance with the Optional Protocol and to ensure that national human rights organisations have full access to all persons held at all places of detention.
Done in Banjul, May 10th, 2010