REPORT OF SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON PRISONS AND CONDITIONS OF DETENTION TO THE 21ST SESSION OF THE AFRICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN AND PEOPLES' RIGHTSIntroduction
In compliance with the decision of the Commission at its 20th Ordinary Session held at Grand Bay, Mauritius from 21-31 October 1996, the Terms of Reference of the Special Rapporteur on the above subject have been revised, and a copy of the revised text is attached to this report as appendix I. The Report comprises
- Programme of Activities for the period January 1997-1999;
- Inter-sessional activities covering the 20th and 21st Sessions; and
- A budget for the period stated in (i) above.
It was thought neater to fix the commencement of the work of the Special Rapporteur from January 1997 since the intervening period from the time of his appointment by the Commission and January 1997 not much could be done because of the imperative need to attend to work which had piled up at home during the period of the 20th Session in Mauritius and the holidays in December.
I. Programme of Activities- January 1997 - January 1999
The above period is divided into inter-sessional periods with the main activities planned to be undertaken as follows:
- January - April 1997. Consultation on Revision of Terms of Reference and method of work. Planning and execution of first country visit.
- May - October 1997. Senegal or Mali.
- November 1997 - March 1998. Uganda or Mauritius.
- May - October 1998. Mozambique or Sao Tome and Principe.
- November 1998 - January 1999. Tunisia and South Africa. The feasibility of a visit to a Central African country will be closely studied, and if positive undertaken.
In drawing up this programme account was taken of the importance of covering the main geographical areas of Africa, the main languages of the OAU, big and small countries as well as island and mainland countries.
II. Inter-sessional Activities - 20th - 21st Sessions.
With a view to thinking through the Terms of Reference of the Special Rapporteur, his mode of operation, his relationship with inter-governmental agencies, non-governmental organisations and related matters, the Chairman of Penal Reform International, Mr. Ahmed Othmani, the Secretary of the Commission, Mr. Germain Baricako and I had a consultation in Banjul, the Gambia from 8-12 January 1997. The consultation found it desirable for a country visit to be undertaken before the 21st Session.
Factors which were to be taken into account in selecting the first country were Language (ease in communication); likelihood of co-operation from governments and non-governmental organisations, good road net -work which will not make internal travel difficult, and similar matters.
Assurance was given that Penal Reform International (PRI) would support the work of the Special Rapporteur (SR) as far as possible. Towards this end, PRI would endeavour to mobilise resources at local and international levels for the work of the SR. In particular, PRI will be able to offer assistance in three areas: alternatives to imprisonment; prison conditions and rehabilitation; and the strengthening of regional, sub-regional and local NGOs working on prisons.
PRI will make available to the SR relevant data and other material. The Secretary to the Commission gave assurance of Secretarial support to the work of the SR.
Following from this consultation, the SR selected Zimbabwe for his first country visit. Arrangements for the visit were completed within a short time and the visit was undertaken from 23 February to 3 March, due to the indefatigable work of Mr. Ahmed Othmani and the great co-operation and assistance of the Commissioner of Zimbabwe Prisons, Mr. L. Chigwida as well as other officials with responsibility for Prisons in Zimbabwe. To them all I am extremely grateful.
A separate report on this visit is attached to the present Report as Appendix II. I took advantage of my participation in a conference on the Future of the United Nations System of Human Rights in Cambridge University, England 21-23 March to have consultation in Geneva with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Prof. Nigel Rodley on his method of work. To Mr. Ahmed Othmani who facilitated this encounter, and the Association for the Prevention of Torture headed by Claudine Haenni which nicely arranged the Geneva end of my mission, I am very grateful.
Equipment - Computer, Printer and Accessories $ 5,000.00
Secretarial Support - Emolument $ 2,400.00
Transport $ 1,200.00
Telephone, fax, correspondence etc. $ 3,000.00
Publication of Report $ 2,000.00
Travel and related expenses $ 25,000.00
Miscellaneous $ 1,400.00
Submitted by Prof.
Special Rapporteur on Prisons and
Conditions of Detention in Africa.