Joint Press Release on the Panel on the Situation of Migrants at Risk of Torture and other Ill-treatment in Africa: Alternative Approaches

    The Secretariat of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights is pleased to inform the general public that during the 63rd Ordinary Session of the African Commission, the Committee for the Prevention of Torture in Africa (CPTA) and the Special Rapporteur on Refugees, Asylum Seekers, Internally Displaced Persons and Migrants (the Special Rapporteur) organised a panel discussion on the Situation of Migrants at Risk of Torture and other Ill-treatment in Africa: Alternative Approaches, in collaboration with the International Detention Coalition (IDC).

    Panellists included Commissioner Hatem Essaiem (Chairperson of the CPTA); Commissioner Maya Sahli-Fadel (Special Rapporteur); Judge Malick Sow (Member of CPTA); Dr Aquinaldo Mandlate (Member of IDC); and Mr Mamina Jallow (Member of the Gambian Returnees from Backway Association).

    The Panel highlighted the general situation of migrants in Africa; the risk of torture and other ill-treatment of migrants in detention and the duties of States under the Guidelines and Measures for the Prohibition and Prevention of Torture, Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in Africa (the Robben Island Guidelines); alternative approaches to detention of migrants; and a testimony by Mr Mamina Jallow who shared his experience of abuse, beatings, and other ill-treatment while travelling from The Gambia to Libya in hopes of reaching Europe for a better life. He poignantly described the abuses endured in the countries crossed (Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger and Libya). Mr Jallow also stated that most young Africans undertake these dangerous journeys as a result of lack of economic opportunities in countries of origin.

    The following representatives took the floor: the Arab Republic of Egypt, the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, the National Human Rights Commission of the Republic of Rwanda, Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA), Advoc Aid Sierra Leone, Equality Now – Solidarity for African Women’s Rights (SOAWR) Coalition, and la ligue marocaine pour les droits de l’homme.    

    The CPTA and the Special Rapporteur convey their sincere gratitude to all stakeholders who contributed to the Panel discussion, and remain seized of this important matter.

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      Date: 27 October 2018

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