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African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights

Press Release on the Technical Meeting on Drafting a General Comment on the Right to Redress for Victims of Torture and Ill-treatment under Article 5 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights

The Secretariat of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Secretariat), wishes to inform the general public that the Committee for the Prevention of Torture in Africa (the CPTA or the Committee), in collaboration with the Redress Trust, the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, and the Kenya Human Rights Commission, convened a two day Technical Meeting in Accra, the Republic of Ghana, from 6 to 7 July 2015.

The aim of the Technical Meeting was to initiate the process for developing a General Comment on the right of redress for Victims of torture and ill-treatment under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Charter).

The Technical Meeting explored the normative framework of the right to redress, the status quo regarding victims’ access to redress on the continent; identified good practices as well as challenges and gaps at the national, regional and international levels that the General Comment could usefully address. The Committee identified the next steps in drafting the General Comment and will publish a report on the meeting in due course.

The Meeting brought together twenty-eight national, regional and international participants with expertise in the area of torture prevention and prohibition generally, and victims’ right to redress specifically. Participants included the following Members of the CPTA: Honourable Commissioner Lawrence M. Mute (Chairperson), Honourable Commissioner Lucy Asuagbor, Honourable Commissioner Med. S. K. Kaggwa, Mme Hannah Forster, and Mr Malick Sow; as well as representatives of the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice of Ghana, academia, medical and legal practitioners, and civil society.

The Technical Meeting, inter alia, concluded that the General Comment on Victims’ Right to Redress should be framed to respond to redress holistically; to ensure victims’ needs remain at the centre of interventions; and to take account of Africa’s realities and contexts.

The Committee will continue engaging with all stakeholders in the development of the General Comment.

The Committee, on behalf of the Commission, expresses its sincere gratitude to the Government of the Republic of Ghana for the courtesies extended to Members of the CPTA and other participants at the Technical Meeting. It further extends its thanks to its partners who contributed to the successful undertaking of this Meeting.  

Banjul, The Gambia, 8 July 2015