Committee for the Prevention of Torture in Africa
About the Committee for the Prevention of Torture in Africa (CPTA)
In October 2002, at its 32nd Ordinary Session, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission), adopted the Guidelines and Measures for the Prohibition and Prevention of Torture, Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in Africa (‘Robben Island Guidelines’ or ‘RIGs’), to elaborate on Article 5 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Charter), which prohibits torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (ill-treatment).
The Robben Island Guidelines seek to prevent and eradicate torture and other ill-treatment in Africa. It is an essential tool which States may use in fulfilling their national, regional and international obligations to strengthen and implement the prohibition and prevention of torture and other ill-treatment.
The Committee for the Prevention of Torture in Africa (‘CPTA’ or ‘Committee’), formerly known as the Follow-up Committee on the Implementation of the Robben Island Guidelines, was established by the Commission at its 35th Ordinary Session in May 2004, to promote the implementation of the Robben Island Guidelines.
Resolution ACHPR/Res.61 (XXXII) 02 mandates the CPTA to:
- organise, with the support of interested partners, seminars to disseminate the RIGs to national and regional stakeholders;
- develop and propose to the Commission strategies to promote and implement the RIGs at the national and regional levels;
- promote and facilitate the implementation of the RIGs within State Parties; and
- make a progress report to the Commission at each Ordinary Session.
The CPTA works with various stakeholders to ensure the prohibition and prevention of torture and other ill-treatment in the continent, including State Parties, national human rights institutions (NHRIs), international organisations, civil society organisations (CSOs), Special Mechanisms of the Commission, and other relevant actors.
Where it identifies Article 5 violations, the CPTA intervenes by transmitting letters of appeal to State Parties, in which it requests the concerned State to provide clarification on the matter, draws the State’s attention to its obligations under the African Charter, the RIGs and other relevant instruments, and requests it to take specific measures to remedy the situation. Further, the Committee offers its expertise in the area of torture prohibition and prevention where communications which allege violation of Article 5 are filed before the Commission.
The CPTA promotes implementation of the Robben Island Guidelines and other crucial instruments in the area of torture prevention and prohibition, including the United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT) and the Optional Protocol to UNCAT (OPCAT). It also strives for the establishment of effective National Preventive Mechanisms (NPMs) in African States in accordance with OPCAT.
The CPTA further, initiates resolutions on Article 5 issues; publishes its annual report on the situation of torture and other ill-treatment in Africa, annual thematic report on a specific Article 5 issue, and annual newsletter; works with partners to disseminate useful documents on the prevention of torture; and develops practical guidelines for the interpretation and development of different aspects of Article 5 to assist State Parties and relevant actors effectively implement their obligations.
See the 2019 CPTA Annual Work Plan