Promotion of the effective implementation of the Robben Island Guidelines

Monday, March 31, 2008

Date: 02 April 2008

Place: Cape Town, South Africa

Partners: African Commission UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture South African Human Rights

Commission Purpose: The prevention of torture in Africa through an effective implementation of the Robben Island Guidelines (RIG). The setting up by the RIG Committee of a strategic work plan for the effective implementation of the Guidelines throughout the continent. Activities: The African Commission has established special mechanisms composed of commissioners and independent experts to address specific human rights issues on the continent. One of these special bodies is the Follow-up Committee on the Implementation of the Robben Island Guidelines (RIG Committee) for the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture. The RIG Committee was established during the 35th Ordinary Session of the African Commission in May 2004. The APT Africa Programme Officer serves within the RIG Committee as Vice-chairperson.

The Robben Island Guidelines were developed during a meeting organised by the APT in February 2002 on Robben Island, South Africa. These Guidelines were adopted by a resolution of the African Commission during the 32nd Ordinary Session in October 2002. This was a significant advance in addressing torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in Africa.

Five years later, the RIG Committee deemed it necessary to go back to Robben Island to hold its working session on the 02 April. The objective of the meeting was to assess the RIG process and to review the RIG Committee's work and the challenges it has faced to date, in order to set up a strategic plan for the next two years. The meeting also considered whether there is a need for the RIG to be updated.
Outcome: The Meeting came up with a strategic work plan for effective implementation of the RIG. The RIG Committee met with SPT Members attending the regional OPCAT conference which took place on 3-4 April in Cape Town. This was a good opportunity for both bodies to consider possible interaction and cooperation to further effective prevention of torture in Africa. The APT will continue to support the work of the RIG Committee and to cooperate with the African Commission for an effective implementation of the RIG.

Contact Person: Jean-Baptiste Niyizurugero, APT Africa Programme Officer