Committee for the Prevention of Torture in Africa - Introduction

Monday, September 26, 2011

In the framework of the longstanding cooperation between the APT and the African Commission for Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR), the APT has committed itself to support and empower the Committee for the Prevention of Torture in Africa (CPTA).

The CPTA was established during the 35th session of the ACHPR in 2004. The Committee was firstly named RIG Follow-up Committee but then, in 2009, it was decided that it would be renamed as Committee for the Prevention of Torture in Africa in order to enhance its preventive mandate. The Committee is composed of 5 African experts in torture related issues:

  • ACHPR Commissioner Catherine Dupe Atoki, Chairperson
  • Mr. Jean-Baptiste Niyizurugero, Vice-Chair
  • ACHPR Commissioner Musa Bitaye, Member
  • Ms. Hannah Forster, Member and President of the African Centre for Human Rights Studies
  • Mr. Malik Sow, Member

The CPTA is primarily vested with the mandate of promoting and facilitating the implementation of the international human rights standards related to the prevention and prohibition of torture and other forms of ill-treatment within Member States. This is achieved through the organization of seminars/workshops; visits to member states; development of training and sensitization programmes on the prohibition and prevention of torture; publications and studies on themes contained in the RIG and the building of strategic partnerships with civil society organizations, national human rights institutions and other national, regional and international actors for the purpose of sharing information and promoting best practices on the prohibition and prevention of torture.

The APT is working with the CPTA in view of increasing its resources and capacities for an effective prevention and prohibition of torture in Africa. In particular, the APT has provided the CPTA with a Focal Point, Mr. Tem Fuh Mbuh, who is based at the African Commission’s Headquarter in Banjul and is working to assist and coordinate the CPTA work. The APT is also willing to encourage and assist the CPTA in its strategic planning process as well as in building up interaction with the UN bodies (including the Sub-committee for the Prevention of Torture and the Special Rapporteur on Torture).  

In April 2010, the APT has involved the CPTA in the Dakar Regional Conference on Torture Prevention in Africa. The Committee, not only participated in conference, but it also held strategic consultative meeting (link to follow) aimed at enhancing the engagement of the participants in the implementation of the RIG. The CPTA has therefore played a strategic role in creating synergies between various stakeholders toward the prevention of torture in Africa.

Additionally, the APT has supported the CPTA in developing a Torture Database depicting the status of ratification of the CAT and OPCAT by African countries, as well as the criminalization of torture and the applicable penalties. This is a good complementary tool to the APT worldwide Compilation of Torture Laws.