Africa: New procedures for reporting torture

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

A regional workshop involving torture prevention experts and practitioners has validated a new set of Rules to establish and operate the alert and reporting mechanism to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) on situations of torture.

The APT also participated in the workshop, held from 27-29 May 2022 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, which was organised by the Committee for the Prevention of Torture in Africa (CPTA).

Known as the Abidjan Rules, the new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) will provide an effective and formalised system for identifying, tracking, analysing and reporting information relating to torture and ill-treatment to the ACHPR.

We cannot remain indifferent in the face of torture and we ask everyone to join in and help in any way possible to support implementation of the SOPs and the victims of torture. Together we can make a huge difference in preventing torture.

Hon. Commissioner Essaiem Hatem, CPTA President

The Abidjan Rules will address challenges with the existing format for submitting alerts, as non-binding and poorly formatted alerts had made it difficult for the CPTA to use those alerts and caused delays in responding.

The workshop built on commitments and progress made during two previous workshops, held in Zanzibar in October 2021 and Tunis in December 2021.

The Zanzibar workshop established the guidelines and a group of experts tasked with drafting the Rules, while the Tunis workshop developed the draft Rules. The Abidjan workshop reviewed, revised and adopted the draft Rules.

The review process included a thorough assessment to ensure the new Rules could be implemented effectively. There was also a strong emphasis on the importance of partnerships with torture prevention stakeholders, especially civil society organisations

The partners will support the CPTA to obtain additional information to carry out contextualised and relevant analysis, as well as follow-up on alerts. In addition, the CPTA will refer victims of torture to organisations providing appropriate support. To support this collaboration, a partnership code specifying the roles of stakeholders has been included in the Abidjan Rules.

The workshop benefited from the insights of 48 delegates, including members of the drafting committee, independent experts and representatives of national preventive mechanisms (NPMs), national human rights institutions (NHRIs) and international NGOs. Members of the UN Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture also participated.

Once adopted by the ACHPR, these standard operating procedures will be an effective tool for torture prevention in Africa,The APT will continue to provide support to our partners in the region and promote societies without torture.

Staff members