The Article 5 Initiative works for the prevention and eradication of torture in Africa through the development of practice-aimed resources. The Article 5 Initiative aims to support African institutions in improving domestic compliance with international law obligations, norms and procedures under the United Nations Convention against Torture and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights. The Article 5 Initiative focuses on six post-conflict African countries, namely Burundi, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa and Uganda.
This project is being funded with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of this website are the sole responsibility of the A5I and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.
SA investigation of crimes against humanity in Zimbabwe
November 2013: In a landmark decision for local and international justice, the South African Supreme Court of Appeal ordered the South African Police Service (SAPS) to investigate high level Zimbabwean officials accused of committing crimes against humanity in Zimbabwe. Read about it here.
Launch of A5I Practical Monitoring Tools to Promote Freedom from Torture
Between September and November 2013, the A5I launched its final report and its Domestication and Implementation Packages for the prevention of torture in all 6 A5I countries. The full report is available on our Publications page.
Read about the Rwandan launch (in Kinyarwanda) here.
South African Prevention and Combating of Torture of Persons Act signed into law
On July 25th 2013, President Zuma signed the Prevention and Combating of Torture of Persons Act No. 13 of 2013 into law. The Act creates a specific crime of torture in South African law and establishes jurisdiction over certain acts of torture that occur outside of South Africa’s borders, among other things. This is an important step in South Africa’s domestication of the United Nations Convention against Torture, and marks the Government’s commitment to preventing and eradicating torture and other ill treatment in South Africa.
Download the South African Prevention and Combating of Torture of Persons Act here.
A5I at the 53rd Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
In April 2013, the A5I attended the 53rd Ordinary Session of the ACHPR in Banjul, the Gambia.
Read the full report of the ACHPR’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture in Africa here. Read the A5I’s statement on the duty to combat impunity, submitted by APCOF, here: Submission on the duty to combat impunity. Read the Community Law Centre’s submission to the ACHPR’s Special Rapporteur on Prisons and Conditions of Detention, on the question of impunity where it concerns the deaths of prisoners implicating officials of the Department of Correctional Services in South Africa, here: Submission to the Special Rapporteur on Prisons and Conditions of Detention.
Mozambique ratifies OPCAT
On 5 February 2013, the Council of Ministers of Mozambique adopted a resolution ratifying OPCAT. While the deposit of the resolution is still pending with the United Nations in New York, Deputy Minister of Justice Alberto Nkutumula announced that through the ratification of this international instrument, Mozambique will make all efforts to create a mechanism that will permit regular and unannounced visits to places of detention by national and international organisations. It is hoped that the mechanism will improve the conditions of detention of people deprived of their liberty. For more information: http://iphone.verdade.co.mz/nacional/34289-governo-ratifica-protocolo-contra-torturas
A5I workshop in Rwanda
In September 2012, the A5I held its first Rwandan stakeholder workshop in Kigali, Rwanda. Read about it here.
International Day against Torture
June 26th 2012 marked the United Nations’ International Day against Torture. Read more about it here.
Article 5 Initiative presenting at the 51st Session of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights
In April 2012, the A5I presented at the 51st Session of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights. Download the poster here: A5I poster
Article 5 Initiative launched in the old Breakwater Prison
On 13 December 2011, following International Human Rights Day, the Article 5 Initiative (A5I) was launched at the Breakwater Lodge in Cape Town, in what used to be the mess hall of the prison guards of the old Breakwater Prison. Instruments used to torture the prisoners can still be seen around this hall. “Even though many years have passed since the torturous treadmill is no longer in use, the struggle to eradicate torture is not over. It is not only political activists and terror suspects who are victims of torture. Suspects in ordinary criminal investigations, prisoners who have offended their keepers, children in secure care facilities, psychiatric patients, to name a few, are also vulnerable to and often the victims of torture and ill treatment,” said Lukas Muntingh, project coordinator of the Civil Society Prison Reform Initiative. Commissioner Dupe Atoki, Chairperson of the ACHPR, said that “the continued and widespread practice of torture in Africa is a real and weighty challenge, the prevention and eradication of which requires creative initiatives, the building of synergies and the complete engagement and commitment of all relevant stakeholders”. Justice Albie Sachs also expressed his support for the A5I, saying that “the spirit of Ubuntu, which underlies our whole constitutional order, is incompatible with torture. In helping to eradicate the international curse of torture, this [initiative] promotes the African values of Ubuntu.” In his keynote address, Justice Vincent Saldanha, Judge of the Western Cape High Court, stressed the need for all stakeholders to continue the fight against torture and called on judges to use their mandate to pay unannounced visits to places of detention in order to monitor the treatment of detainees and their conditions of detention.
50th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
Several members of the A5I attended the 50th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which took place from 24 October to 7 November 2011 in Banjul, The Gambia. A5I was represented by Ms Debra Long, from the Human Rights Implementation Centre (University of Bristol, UK), Mr Sean Tait, from the African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum (South Africa) and Ms Gwenaelle Dereymaeker, from the Community Law Centre (University of the Western Cape, South Africa). The report on A5I activities during the 50th session can be accessed here. Sean Tait read a statement before the Special Rapporteur on Prisons and Conditions of Detention in Africa, emphasising the peremptory nature of the international prohibition of torture and recalling the key obligations on states that have ratified the UN Convention against Torture. The statement can be accessed here.