Coalition advocates action against torture in correctional facilities

Tue, Jun 29, 2021
By editor


THE Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA), in collaboration with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Forum on Detention and Corrections in Nigeria, has called on other CSOs in Nigeria to stand up for for humanity, especially for victims of torture.

This is contained in a statement jointly signed by PRAWA and 16 CSOs. It was issued by the PRAWA spokesperson, Mrs Ogechi Agu, and made available to newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja.

The group stated that the call became imperative given the increased situation of the shrinking civil space and the accompanying gross human rights abuse in the country.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the statement followed celebrations marking International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, observed annually on June 26.

The statement stated that it was also needed as the abuse on human right manifested in cases of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment perpetrated against individuals in the society.

According to the statement, “It is the position of members of the CSO Forum that use of torture is reprehensible and a very serious abuse of human rights deserving of condemnation by all.

“International, regional and national legal instruments absolutely prohibit torture. Therefore, no circumstance whatsoever can justify the use of torture.

“The absolute prohibition of torture is reinforced by the fact that it is an abuse of rights which gets to the root of the right of individuals to dignity and respect as captured in Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“This opportunity of 2021 celebration of UN Day in Support of Torture Victims should be utilized for sober reflection on the progress Nigeria has made in the fight against torture.

“There are unfortunately obvious indications that Nigeria is losing previous milestones seemingly achieved in the fight against torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, including the response of law enforcement agents to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, the security sectors’ response to the #ENDSARS Campaign and general policing in the face of deteriorating security situation in the country.

“Responses to activities of armed bandits, kidnappers, ‘Unknown Gunmen’, and separatist agitators have exposed in glaring terms the consistent and incessant resort to torture by law enforcement agents in the course of performance of their duties.

“However, the identified challenges do not detract the fact of the several commendable and committed steps taken by government to provide strong legal framework for the protection of the rights of individuals against torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.”

The Coalition said that beyond the lapses of neither preventing torture nor bringing perpetrators to book, another issue of concern is the treatment of victims and survivors of torture.

According to the statement, “Understandably, torture victims and survivors are left with trauma, psychological, mental and physical scars.

“Regrettably, an important intervention necessary for the restoration of the victims/survivors of torture to normal life missing in the Nigerian legislation is the right of victims to rehabilitation.

“All victims of torture have an explicit right to Rehabilitation under Article 14 of the United Nations Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.”

The statement said that CSOs should take up the mantle of leadership in terms of advocacy and awareness creation on issues of torture, especially the amendment of our laws to accommodate the rights of victims/survivors of torture to rehabilitation.

It called on arresting agencies in Nigeria to allow oversight agencies and CSOs unfettered access to detention facilities and to also keep a central database that provides real-time statistics of the number of persons in their custody. (NAN).

– June 29, 2021 @ 09:10 GMT|