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African Mechanisms of Dealing with Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment | Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum

African Mechanisms of Dealing with Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

This analysis takes a closer look at ways in which Africa seeks to combat the practice of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and focuses on the Robben Island Guidelines (RIG) and Measures for the Prohibition and Prevention of Torture, Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in Africa, commonly referred to as the Robben Island Guidelines (RIG). The RIG were adopted by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (the African Commission) during its 32 Ordinary Session in Banjul, the Gambia. These guidelines outline the minimum measures that governments should take in regard to the prevention and
prohibition of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. They also outline how states are expected to respond to such cases.

The Robben Island Guidelines are a measure of Africa’s commitment to eliminating torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Zimbabwe, as a member
of the African Union, is bound by this commitment. Ratifying the CAT would be the first step towards the prohibition and prevention of torture. For the government to be able to respond to the needs of the victims, there is need to first acknowledge that such a problem does exist. This will enable the government to work with non-state actors currently involved in assisting the victims to provide appropriate medical care, rehabilitation, compensation and support. Without this commitment, Zimbabwe remains an ugly spot for African Human Rights, even at a time when the continent ought to be celebrating its progress in human rights. The RIG give Zimbabwe a clear path to take in joining the community of nations as a country that respects the rights of all its citizens.

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