Implementing Anti-torture Standards in Common Law Africa

Today REDRESS and the Convention against Torture Initiative (CTI) launch their joint report entitled Anti-Torture Standards in common law Africa: Good Practices and Way Forward. 

The report reviews the anti-torture legal and regulatory framework in The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Uganda and Zimbabwe and provides an analysis of standards in place to prevent, prohibit and respond to torture and other ill-treatment in these States.  

It also showcases positive examples of domestic legal protection against torture and other ill-treatment in the region to inspire action towards strengthening the domestic implementation of UNCAT across common law Africa.  

The report identifies challenges experienced by States to prevent and respond to torture and other ill-treatment, which range from the lack of legislative provisions to significant gaps between law and practice. It also outlines measures and proposals that can be considered by States and their institutions at the legal and policy level and provides recommendations based on international and regional standards, as well as inspired by existing measures adopted by States in the region. 

The report is hoped to serve as a useful tool for key stakeholders in the region, including officials in the executive branch and other governmental departments or services (such as police and prisons), as well as Parliamentarians, National Human Rights Institutions, NPMs, Ombudspersons and criminal justice system actors, including judges, prosecutors and lawyers, as well as civil society organisations.  

Though the report focuses on particular States, it attempts more broadly to highlight some shared challenges that seem most prevalent considering the eight countries covered as a whole.  While every State in the region faces contextually varying challenges, we trust the findings and recommendations contained in the report can be used to strengthen the anti-torture protection framework in other States in Africa beyond those reviewed in the report. 

For queries on the report, please contact [email protected]. 

REDRESS would like to thank our partners CTI; the law firm Clifford Chance for their support during the drafting and editing process, and the expert members of the Advisory Board of this report: Ms. Aua Baldé, H.E. Mr. Ramses Joseph Cleland, Dr. Alice Edwards, Mr. Gaye Sowe, Ms. Ruth Ssekindi  and Prof. Frans Viljoen.