+220 441 05 05-6 | au-banjul@africa-union.org

African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights

Compilation of documents on torture prevention



COMPILATION OF DOCUMENTS ON TORTURE PREVENTION

By

THE UN SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE PREVENTION OF TORTURE

AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN OR DEGRADING TREATMENT

OR PUNISHMENT

And

THE COMMITTEE FOR THE PREVENTION OF TORTURE IN

AFRICA OF THE AFRICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN AND

PEOPLES’ RIGHTS

The United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (SPT) and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights’ Committee for the Prevention of Torture in Africa (CPTA), as part of their collaborative activities, have produced this compilation of documents on torture prevention for African States.

The SPT, established by the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT), began its work in 2007 and has a preventive mandate focused on an innovative, sustained and proactive approach to the prevention of torture and ill treatment. The SPT is composed of 25 independent and impartial experts coming from different backgrounds and from various regions of the world. The SPT has two primary operational functions. First, it may undertake visits to States Parties, during the course of which it may visit any place where persons may be deprived of their liberty. Second, it has an advisory function which involves providing assistance and advice to States Parties on the establishment of National Preventive Mechanisms (NPM), which OPCAT requires that they establish, and also providing advice and assistance to both the NPM and the State Party regarding the working of the NPM. In addition, the SPT cooperates, for the prevention of torture in general, with relevant United Nations organs and mechanisms as well as with international, regional, and national institutions or organizations. In order for the SPT to fully realize its mandate under the OPCAT, the SPT has so far devised four types of visits: these are SPT country visits, SPT country follow-up visits, NPM advisory visits and OPCAT advisory visits.

The CPTA (originally the ‘Robben Island Guidelines Follow-up Committee’) was created by the adoption of Resolution 61 of the 32nd Ordinary Session held in Banjul, The Gambia in October 2002. The Robben Island Guidelines for the Prohibition and Prevention of Torture in Africa, adopted in 2002, were a tool to assist States in implementing their obligations under Article 5 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. By Resolution 158, adopted at the 46th Ordinary Session held in Banjul, the Gambia in November 2009, its name was changed to the Committee for the Prevention of Torture in Africa. The mandate of the CPTA is that it:

  • Organizes, with the support of other interested partners, seminars to disseminate the Robben Island Guidelines to national and international actors.
  • Develops and proposes to the African Commission strategies to promote and implement the Robben Island Guidelines at national and regional level.
  • Promotes and facilitates the implementation of the Robben Island Guidelines within the Member States.
  • Reports to the African Commission at each regular session on the status of implementation of the Robben Island Guidelines.

The documents in this collection include UN instruments: the UN Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT) and OPCAT. Provisions in other UN treaties which refer to the prohibition of torture are also included, as are extracts from the revised United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners

(Mandela Rules).

Article 5 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights sets out the general prohibition on torture and is the basis on which other soft-law instruments have been created by the African Commission. These include the Robben Island Guidelines for the Prohibition and Prevention of Torture in Africa, adopted in 2002, and extracts from the Guidelines on the Conditions of Arrest, Police Custody and Pre-Trial Detention in Africa (Luanda Guidelines).

The documents and extracts indicate not only the obligations States have with respect to torture prevention in its broadest sense, but also the mechanisms that they should adopt within their jurisdictions.

The two committees hope that this compilation will provide a useful tool for States, national human rights institutions, civil society organisations and others in their work in torture prevention within Africa. The Committees remain available for advice and assistance.

For further information please contact (SPT)

Secretariat of the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

Palais Wilson - 52, rue des Pâquis

CH-1201 Geneva (Switzerland)

Mailing address

UNOG-OHCHR

CH-1211 Geneva 10

Switzerland

Tel: +41 22 917 97 44

Fax: +41 22 917 90 22

E-mail: opcat@ohchr.org

Internet: http://www.ohchr.org

 

CPTA:

31 Bijilo Annex Layout, Kombo North District

Western Region P.O. Box 673 Banjul

The Gambia

Tel: (220) 441 05 05, 441 05 06

Fax: (220) 441 05 04

E-mail: au-banjul@africa-union.org

Internet: http://www.achpr.org/mechanisms/cpta/