Supporting an effective National Preventive Mechanism for Senegal

Thursday, June 12, 2008
Date:
07 December 2007
Place:
Dakar, Senegal
Partners:

Amnesty International Senegal

Ministry of Justice

Purpose:
  • To support Senegal to design and establish an effective NPM as required under the OPCAT
  • To explain to national actors the role and advantages of the NPM under OPCAT
  • To assess and analyze the national situation towards establishment of a NPM
  • To develop a roadmap to guide national authorities in the establishment of a NPM
Activities:
A national seminar jointly organized by the APT and Amnesty International Senegal in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice on the establishment of an effective NPM. The seminar gathered about 30 key national actors including representatives from the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Police, Gendarmerie, Judiciary and Penitentiary Services as well as NGOs. Participants reviewed the obligations and implications of the OPCAT in relation with NPMs. On the basis of a study put together by a consultant prior to the seminar, participants assessed the current national situation in Senegal (current visiting mechanisms in place, gaps, needs…) and came up with a range of recommendations which will serve as a 'roadmap' to guide the authorities in establishing an effective NPM.
Outcome:
Development of a roadmap on the establishment of the NPM in Senegal. The roadmap foresees the establishment, by law, of a new national institution to serve as a NPM. To ensure the independence of the mechanism, it is recommended, among others, that the legislation on NPM will include :
  • An appropriate procedure for the appointment of expert members
  • A powerful mandate for the NPM
  • An appropriate procedure for approval of budget and resources necessary for implementation

The seminar set up an Ad Hoc Working Group comprised of the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Interior, three national NGOs including Amnesty International Senegal and the National Human Rights Institution (Comité Sénégalais des droits de l’homme). They have the mission to follow up on the implementation of the seminars recommendations. In particular they are tasked to formally present the road map to the Minister of Justice. They will assist the Ministry of Justice to draft the NPM legislation. They will also advocate for the adoption of the legislation by Parliament and for the appointment of competent NPM members.

At a post-seminar reception hosted by the UK Ambassador to Senegal, the committment of the Ministry of Justice to the establishment of an effective NPM was underlined. Senegalese civil society organisations may also count on diplomatic assistance from the Ambassador during the process.

APT will continue to provide technical assistance and advice to the Working Group as well as to other Senegal actors, including Ministry of Justice and Parliament, during the NPM establishment process.

Further cooperation between the APT and the future NPM may be possible, with regard to training on issues such as monitoring places of detention in order to insure effective implementation of the OPCAT obligations.

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