West Africa Police and Torture Prevention

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

As part of its ongoing cooperation with the African Commission for an effective implementation of the Robben Island Guidelines (RIG), and continuing support of the work of the RIG Committee, the APT visited Nigeria in mid-July. The implementation of the RIG was the subject of a sub-regional seminar for senior West African law enforcement officers. It is hoped that a closer collaboration between the African Commission and regional law enforcement officials will result in the development of more effective programmes for the prevention of torture.


17-18 July 2008
Abuja, Nigeria

African Commission

West African Law Enforcement Agencies

The prevention of torture in Africa through an effective implementation of the Robben Island Guidelines.

On 17 and 18 July 2008 APT attended a seminar on the implementation of the Robben Island Guidelines for senior West African law enforcement officers. The event took place in Abuja. The objectives of this meeting were:

  • to introduce the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights and its Robben Island Guidelines (RIG) for the prohibition and prevention of torture in Africa.
  • to discuss RIG provisions relevant to law enforcement agencies and encourage them to refer to and use this tool in their work.
  • to share experiences on the use and challenges of the RIG.
  • to develop strategies to overcome challenges for effective implementation of the RIG.
  • to generate possible actions and initiatives to promote and implement the RIG.

The African Commission has established special mechanisms composed of Commissioners and independent experts to address specific human rights issues on the continent. One of such 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 progress in addressing torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in Africa.

In April 2008 the RIG Committee held a working session where it adopted a strategic work plan for the next two years. It was agreed that the Committee will hold sub-regional seminars for key stakeholders to promote RIG implementation as stated in the African Commission's Resolution. The first of such seminars was held in Abuja, Nigeria, from 17-18 July 2008 for Senior West African Law Enforcement Officers.

  • Increased knowledge and use of the RIG by senior law enforcement officers for the effective implementation of the RIG;
  • Closer collaboration between the African Commission and sub-regional law enforcement officials in order to develop more effective and more integrated programmes for effective prevention of torture;
  • Generate initiatives and good practices on the application of the RIG by Law Enforcement Officials.
Draft Programme
Contact Person:
Jean-Baptiste Niyizurugero, APT Africa Programme Officer