NANHRI Empowers Public Officials to Fight Torture

NANHRI Workshop Yaounde

The Network of African National Human Rights Institutions, NANHRI, has trained Officials from various National Human Rights Institutions in Africa to protect the rights of persons deprived of their liberty.
This was during a two-day workshop that ended in Yaounde on Tuesday, November 18, 2014 and was an initiative of the Association for the Prevention of Torture, APT, and NANHRI, in collaboration with the National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms, NCHRF.
Organized under the concept “enhancing the role of National Human Rights Institutions in the Prevention of Torture”, the workshop was part of a three-year APT/NANHRI project that seeks to build institutional capacities of African national human rights institutions in preventing torture.
“Torture is one of the most serious violations of fundamental rights. It affects and destroys one’s dignity, body and spirit and has a huge impact on the family and the community”, said the chairperson of the NCHRF, Divine Banda Chemuta.
Participants of the workshop acknowledged that the phenomenon is still widely spread despite all the specific measures written in provisions of the Convention against torture and the effort made by the Committee against torture on the one hand and the content of national legislations on the other hand.
“We have the responsibility to develop more elaborate strategies in our institutions to prevent acts of torture and all forms of degrading treatment” noted Chemuta
The joint APT/NANHRI project “consolidating the role of NHRIs in the prevention of torture” was seen as a wonderful and timely gift for human rights institutions in the continent.
“Cases of torture can be identified anywhere; when a person is being interrogated in police custody. Even in case of persecution and even at domestic house level. We are using other civil society organizations involve in the fight and families” the Executive Director of NANHRI, Gilbert Sebihogo told reporters.
Meanwhile the representative of the European Union, Stephanie Gantzer urged participants to use the workshop as a forum to exchange and promote good practices.
“We hope all what you learn from this workshop will be effectively implemented in your various countries” Gantzer told participants who came from 29 various countries in Africa.
APT representative at the workshop, Benjamin Buckland also underscored the significance of the training and encouraged the representatives of human rights institutions to effectively use the knowledge acquired in the battle against torture.
The Yaounde workshop was preceded by a two weeks online course in October and both components were funded by the European Union.

By Jude Fuhnwi
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