Madagascar: New APT resource promotes stronger safeguards in police custody

Thursday, July 1, 2021

As part of a multi-year project, the APT has been working in partnership with Madagascar's Ministry of Internal Security to strengthen safeguards in the first hours of police custody.

“The evidence shows that implementing safeguards within those first hours following arrest are key to preventing torture and ill-treatment,” Ben Buckland, APT Senior Adviser, Oversight and Learning Development, said.

“These safeguards include the right to a lawyer, the right to see a doctor, or the right to notify a family member of your arrest,” he said. “Everyone has the right to access these safeguards but they are especially important for those who are most vulnerable in detention.”

“This project has promoted a new perception of the anti-torture legislation. Now, police officers are not reluctant anymore, the project has given them a new understanding of what it means in practice, to implement torture prevention.”

Aina Randriambelo, Chief Commissioner and Chief of Staff of the Minister for Internal Security

As part of our joint efforts to strengthen safeguards in detention, the APT has developed two tools that have been rolled out in police stations across the Tana region: a standardised custody register and a letter of rights.

We have also worked with a group of senior officers so they can train their colleagues on how to integrate these tools into their work.

To further support their efforts, the APT has just launched a practical guide (only available in French) on the use of custody registers in police facilities across the country.

The guide includes easy-to-follow flow charts, as well as illustrated case studies on responding to the needs of particular groups in situations of vulnerability.

“The guide incorporates issues raised during our most recent visit to Madagascar in February 2020, as well as in online discussions since then,” Mr Buckland said.

“In addition to supporting the work of our police counterparts across the country, we hope the guide will be a useful tool for others promoting safeguards in detention in different parts of the world.”

Staff members