We the Participants to the NGO Forum in preparation of the 48th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR),
Concerned by the conditions of places of detention, in particular overcrowding, the lack of access to health, to water and food, the absence of separation 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, health facilities and family members and the insufficient recording of arrested persons kept in police custody; as well as the inability of detainees to challenge conditions of detention and denial of access to their families and lawyers especially in Algeria;
Concerned by the continuous detention of mentally challenged persons in places of detention in some members 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; and the indefinite detention of death row inmates as a form of torture;
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, and the rendition of detainees to other jurisdictions where they are subjected to torture and ill-treatment;
Concerned by the continuous practice of enforced disappearance in certain Member States, a practice which facilitates torture and ill-treatment and amount to torture in itself;
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 violation 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 48th ordinary session, urging 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;
Ratify and effectively implement the Convention against Torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment, particularly those States that are yet to do so;
Domesticate and harmonise 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;
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;
Ratify and fully implement the international Convention for the protection of all person from enforced disappearances;
Abolish the death penalty, particularly to prisoners on the death row; and
Implement the recommendations issued by the Commission in relation to torture and conditions of detention.
Further call on the African Commission to:
Urge the CPTA to develop a comprehensive strategic plan of action to adequately address the issue of torture and to create dynamic initiatives which will enhance existing preventive mechanisms of torture and ill-treatment in Africa.
Done at Banjul, November 9th, 2010