Rwandan delegation visited Mauritius to learn from NPM experience

Friday, May 27, 2016

What are the good practices when establishing a National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) under an existing National Human Rights Commission? During a three day visit, a delegation from Rwanda joined the Mauritius NPM to hear about their experiences, including the challenges met by the mechanism since its establishment.

The APT endeavors to support national processes on the implementation of the Protocol to the UN Convention against torture (OPCAT). Learning from each other and sharing good practices are among the best ways towards the effective implementation of the OPCAT and good functioning of NPMs.

Rwanda, which ratified the OPCAT in June 2015, is currently in the process of establishing its National Preventive Mechanism. During a national seminar, stakeholders recommended “consultations with other countries, including through a study visit to a country with a functioning NPM”, which the APT agreed to facilitate. On 10-12  May 2016 we accompanied a Rwandan delegation, comprised of the Permanent Secretary and Solicitor General of the Ministry of Justice as well as the Director of Legislation, Human Rights Protection and Monitoring Unit of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), to Mauritius.

Mauritius has one of few functioning African NPMs, which is established under its NHRC. This is also the model that Rwanda is considering. The visit provided the Rwandan delegation with the opportunity to meet with various actors, including the Chairperson of the NHRC and the members of the NPM Division, the Permanent Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office as well as other authorities from the Ombudspersons’ Office, Attorney General’s Office, Prison Services and the Police. The delegation was for example able to learn about Mauritius’ experience of the process of elaborating an NPM law in compliance with the OPCAT. In particular Mauritius actors shared good practices and challenges faced by the NPM Division, among other things regarding the scope of its mandate and practical powers, appointment procedure of NPM members, staffing, budgetary allocations, reporting procedures, and cooperation with other NHRC’s Divisions. The Rwandan delegation also accompanied the NPM on its visits to places of detention, where they could see how it operates in practice and learn about its cooperation with detaining authorities.

All photos: Mauritius Prison Service