Senegalese NPM in Switzerland and France to exchange good practice
From 31 March to 7 April 2017, the APT invited the newly appointed National Observer of Places of Deprivation of Liberty (ONLPL) – the Senegalese National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) – to its Geneva headquarters, for a working meeting on the key areas of the functioning of an NPM. The programme included a four-day monitoring visit to a French prison with the French NPM – the General Controller of Places of Deprivation of Liberty (CGLPL). It was a rare occasion for both institutions to share their experiences in monitoring places of detention as well as best practices in the effective functioning of a similar structure of NPM.
This was also an excellent opportunity for APT to welcome and express its support to Senegal’s new National Observer, the judge Josette Marceline Lopez Ndiaye, who was appointed to fulfil the ONLPL’s mandate on 1 February 2017. The working meeting in APT’s offices tackled the five main issues for an NPM to be effective, namely its working methods, activities, internal organisation, relations with other actors and resources. The Secretary of the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) also took part in this programme and further briefings were held with the APT Management and Africa Programme Officer to discuss ways forward towards enhanced cooperation.
“I would like to express my deep gratitude for the warm welcome I received during the working visit you organised for me in the context of good practice exchanges between our institutions,” said Josette Marceline Lopez Ndiaye upon her return to Dakar. “It was an ideal opportunity for me to strengthen my knowledge on the National Preventive Mechanism.” Her visit was also widely reported in the Senegalese national media.
Senegal being one of the few OPCAT States parties with an operational NPM in Africa, human rights advocates in Senegal and the rest of Africa hope the newly appointed ONLPL will set a good example for other countries in the region when establishing their NPMs under the OPCAT.
Involved in several initiatives to promote the ratification and effective implementation of the OPCAT in Senegal, long before the establishment of their NPM, the APT has established an active and constructive partnership with the ONLPL since it became functional in 2012.