South Africa South Africa: Promotion Mission, 2001

Dates:25 - 29 September 2001
Session:33rd Ordinary Session
15 - 29 May 2003. Niamey, Niger
Commissioner: Andrew Ranganayi Chigovera

Mr Andrew Ranganayi Chigovera, the Commissioner responsible for promotional activities in the Republic of South Africa, undertook the mission from 25 to 29 September 2001.

The objectives of the mission and which the officials met were informed of were:
  1. To promote the African Charter, exchange views and information on import and implementation of the Africa Charter;
  2. To raise awareness of the visibility of the African Commission and its functions especially among the relevant government departments and institutions and in civil society;
  3. To lobby for the ratification by South Africa of the Protocol to the African Charter on the Establishment of the African Court on Human and Peoples Rights;
  4. To encourage a closer relationship between the African Commission and the Republic of South Africa.
Outcomes/Recommendations
  1. The Government of the Republic of South Africa undertook to look into the delay in the submission of its Periodic Report to the African Commission;
  2. The Government of the Republic of South Africa gave the impression that it was desirous of ratifying the Protocol on the Establishment of the African Court in Human and Peoples' Rights;
  3. The Mission recommends that the Government of the Republic of South Afiica initiate extensive awareness programmes on human rights for members of the South Afiican Police Service, immigration officials, prison officers, and border police. In particular, the Mission recommends to the Government of the Republic of South Afiica to sensitise and advocate for the elimination of xenophobic attitudes in the society and the police forces towards foreigners and immigrants, including the provision of specialised training to the police in the handling of immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees alike. Police who constantly come into contact with such vulnerable groups should be trained so as to enable them to adopt an appropriate attitude in their relations with those under their custody, and in particular, they should be trained to do away with any intimidating behaviour, and encouraged to cultivate their interpersonal communication skills;
  4. The Mission recommends that the Government of the Republic of South Afiica put in place appropriate mechanisms that would minimise the illtreatment of alleged illegal immigrants at the time of apprehension, while in detention, and during deportation. The Findings of the Mission during its visit to Lindela Repatriation Centre demonstrates the urgent need for the improvement of conditions of detention and treatment of inmates. In this regard the Mission further recommends to the Government of the Republic of South Afiica to make sure that alleged illegal immigrants are allowed to gather their belongings or hand over to a third party of their choice, to be allowed to make telephone calls to inform a person of their choice of their situation, to be allowed to fetch their documents and permits, and, in cases of asylum seekers, to be adequately provided with information on the procedure applicable to them;
  5. The Mission recommends to the Government of the Republic of South Africa that under no circumstances should it allow the deportation of alleged illegal immigrants to countries of which they are not nationals;
  6. The Mission recommends to the Government of the Republic of South Africa to reduce the alarming level of prison overcrowding as this could lead to unhygienic detentions, denial of privacy, and potential violence in prison cells. Accordingly, the Mission recommends that the relevant authorities redouble their efforts to develop and implement a multifaceted strategy to bring about a permanent end to prison overcrowding, which includes the increase in the means available to the Correctional Services to enable it effectively manage pnsons;
  7. The Mission recommends to the Afiican Commission to endeavour to develop jurisprudence, and to strive to have general comments on specific Charter provisions;
  8. The Mission recommends to the Afiican Commission to ensure proper publishing and distribution of its works and decisions to national courts in Afiica;
  9. The Mission recommends to the African Commission to seek resources for the translation into various African local languages of the Charter and its distribution accordingly;
  10. The Mission recommends to the African Commission to look into ways of collaborating with South African Human Rights institutions especially the Justice Training Centre in organising and coordinating seminars and trainings on themes of common interest;
  11. The Mission recommends to the African Commission to look into ways of encouraging national courts in Africa to forward their respective judgements to it and to exchange the same among themselves;
  12. The Mission recommends to the African Commission to ensure the dispatch of invitations to all interested bodies to participate at its workshops, seminars, and expert meetings.



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