African NHRIs discuss overuse of pre-trial detention

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A staggering number of people are detained, sometimes for years, while awaiting trial. In Africa, pre-trial detainees make up an average of 35 percent of the prison population. The result is overcrowded cells, human rights violations and enormous economic and social costs.

The overuse of pre-trial detention is a pressing and important issue worldwide, and especially in Africa. Last week, representatives of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) from 24 African countries met in Kigali, Rwanda to discuss the role of NHRIs in addressing the issue.

The workshop was part of a three year APT-NANHRI project which seeks to build the capacity of African NHRIs to prevent torture. At the event, participants discussed the links between pre-trial detention and torture and ill-treatment. They also developed clear strategies that NHRIs can use to address the issue, particularly in the light of the recently adopted African Commission Guidelines.

APT staff also met with representatives of the Rwandan government, NHRI and civil society in a one-day roundtable to discuss ratification and implementation of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture (OPCAT).

Press release

Read more about the APT-NANHRI project

Participants from 24 countries came to Kigali for the workshop.

Vijay RAMANJOOLOO (National Human Rights Commission of Mauritius) and Hamid BENHADDOU (Conseil Nationale des Droits de l’Homme du Maroc).