Pratical guidelines on the implementation of Robben Island Guidelines



Like other human rights systems, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights establishes the absolute prohibition of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Article 5 of the Charter provides that “every individual shall have the right to respect of the inherent dignity of the human being and that all forms of exploitation and degradation of man, particularly slavery, slave trade, torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment and treatment shall be prohibited.” The Charter also establishes a regional human rights body, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, with the mandate to promote respect for the Charter, ensure the protection of the rights and fundamental freedoms contained therein, and make recommendations for its application.

To fulfil its mission, the African Commission works with different partners, which include the authorities of States party to the African Charter, national human rights institutions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). It is in this context of cooperation that the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) - an international NGO with Observer Status at the African Commission - suggested, during the African Commission’s 28th ordinary session held in Cotonou, Benin, in October 2000, that a joint workshop be organised to draw up concrete measures for implementation of the provisions of Article 5 of the Charter and other international instruments aimed at preventing torture.