Activities as Commissioner
REORT OF PROMOTIONAL ACTIVITIES BY COMMISSIONER DUPE ATOKI, DURING THE NOVEMBER 2007 TO MAY 2008 INTERSESSION PERIOD
During the November 2007 to May 2008 inter-session period, I undertook the following promotional activities:
1. From 3 to 4 February 2008, I represented the ACHPR on a Workshop on Sexuality and Human Rights organised by Actions Aid, where I chaired several sessions.
2. I participated in the 4th Extra-Ordinary Session of the Commission in Banjul, The Gambia from 17th to 21st February 2008.
3. Between 27 and 29 March 2008, I attended a workshop orgainised by Africa Legal Aid (AFLA) on Legal Development and Human Rights in Accra, Ghana, where I presented a paper on ‘Gender Equality in the African Human Rights System.’
4. Between 3 to 5 May also attended the NGO Forum being held here in Ezulwini.Mbabane
Activities as Special Rapporteur on Prisons and Conditions of Detention
INTERSESSIONAL ACTIVITIES REPORT AS SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON PRISONS AND CONDITIONS OF DETENTION IN AFRICA
As Special Rapporteur on Prisons and Conditions of Detention in Africa I was inhibited by a number of factors from undertaking any mission. These include:
a) The Secretariat did not receive any responses to the countries that were scheduled to be visited. In some instances, responses to Notes Verbale sent by the Secretariat are still being awaited and it is hoped that in the forthcoming inter session period I can undertake some prison inspections in at least two countries.
b) At the Extra Ordinary Session in February 2008 the ACHPR had set aside dates for possible fact finding missions to Kenya and to Somalia. Although these missions did not materialize, they affected the scheduling of dates in the intersessional period for any possible country visit of prison inspections.
I however managed to undertake the following activities
1. Meeting of the Robben Island Guidelines Implementation Committee
I was invited in my capacity as Special Rapporteur on Prisons, to attend the meeting of the RIG Implementation Committee which took place in Cape Town, South Africa on the 2nd April, 2008. The meeting strategised on how best to ensure that the Robben Island Guidelines are publicized and implemented in African countries that have not implemented them.
2. Workshop on Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture
Between the 3rd and the 4th of April in Cape Town, South Africa, I attended a workshop organized by Bristol University Law Faculty, Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT), the South African Human Rights Commission and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The meeting was a follow up on the meeting held in April 2007 in Bristol, UK and was esigned to explore issues around prison visits under the Optional Protocol to the CAT. I made a presentation at that meeting on the challenges in implementing the OP CAT in Africa.
Activities as Working Group ChairpersonCommittee for the Prevention of Torture in Africa
I regret to report that torture is still prevalent in Africa. The overall situation with regard to the prevention of torture in Africa has not improved in any remarkable way compared to the situation six months ago. Events happening in some countries have negatively affected the improvements of the situation in other parts. In that regard I am thinking about situation in the Horn of Africa and the Republic of the Sudan, where conflicts in one country has impacted on neighboring States. It is widely known that torture is still prevalent in many parts of Africa and the challenge of the Follow-up Committee is ensure wider knowledge of the RIG and the work of the Follow-up Committee.
I am pleased to inform you that the follow-up Follow-up Committee on the Implementation of the Robben Island Guidelines met in Cape Town Lodge, on 2 April 2008. That meeting was also attended by the Special Rapporteur for Prisons and Conditions of Detention, Commissioner Mumba Malila. This was a follow up of the first meeting of the Follow-up Committee from 19 to 20 February 2005 in Bristol, United Kingdom. The main objective of the Cape Town meeting was to review progress of the Committee and to draw up an effective Plan of Action or Programme of Activities for the promotion, dissemination and the implementation of the Robben Islands Guidelines. I am pleased to report that the Committee identified three States Parties to the African Charter to serve as pilot countries for the implementation of the RIG. The Committee also agreed to meet for another meeting in Lagos, Nigeria, in July 2008. That meeting of the Follow-up Committee will be followed up by sub-regional workshop on the RIG between the 22 -25 July 2008.
I also attended the Second Annual Conference of OPCAT in the African Region in Cape Town, between 3 to 4 April 2008, which also marks almost two years since the OPCAT was in force. The Conference explored the main challenges of implementing the OPCAT in Africa.
From 3 to4 February 2008, I represented the ACHPR on a Workshop on Sexuality and Human Rights organised by Actions Aid, where I chaired several sessions.
Between 3 – 5 May also attended the NGO Forum being held here in Ezulwini.