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African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights

General Comment No. 4: The Right to Redress for Victims of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Punishment or Treatment (Article 5)


The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission) is pleased to adopt this General Comment on the right to redress for victims of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment or treatment (torture and other ill-treatment) under Article 5 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Charter).

Since its establishment in 2004, the Committee on the Prevention of Torture in Africa (the Committee) has been the focal point for the Commission in addressing issues of torture and other ill-treatment. In 2012, the Outcome Document of the Commemorative Seminar on the 10th Anniversary of the Guidelines and Measures for the Prohibition and Prevention of Torture, Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in Africa (the Robben Island Guidelines) tasked the Committee to prepare authoritative comments providing legal guidance and interpretation to facilitate the effective implementation of Article 5 of the African Charter.

The Commission decided to support the Committee’s proposal to develop a General Comment on victims’ right to redress at its 56th Ordinary Session held from 21 April to 7 May 2015, to further strengthen existing provisions on the right to redress in instruments adopted by the Commission, in particular the Robben Island Guidelines.

Subsequent to that, the Committee developed this General Comment in consultation with State and non-State stakeholders who provided invaluable feedback in face-to-face meetings and through electronic contributions.

The Commission expresses its gratitude to the Committee, States and all the other stakeholders who participated so whole-heartedly in the development of this General Comment.

Lawrence Murugu Mute

Commissioner and Chairperson of the

Committee for the Prevention of Torture in Africa