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The prohibition and prevention of torture in Mauritania


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The APT, together with the Conseil National des Droits de l’Homme, recently organised a workshop on 'Protecting the rights of persons deprived of liberty', in Nouakchott, Mauritania. The workshop took place in the context of an increase in the detention monitoring powers of the CNDH, as their founding legislation has been strengthened to give it more explicit powers to conduct unannounced visits to places of detention.

Date: 06 - 07 April 2011
Place: Nouakchott, Mauritania
Purpose: Capacity strengthening in Mauritania on Protecting the Dignity of Persons Deprived of Liberty
Partners: Conseil National des Droits de l’Homme (CNDH)
ICRC
OHCHR
Activities: The APT, together with the Conseil National des Droits de l’Homme (CNDH), organised a workshop on 'Protecting the rights of persons deprived of liberty', in Nouakchott, Mauritania. The workshop, which took place on 6 - 7 April, was opened by Mr Mohamed Abdallahi Ould Khattra, the Commissioner on Human Rights, Humanitarian Action and Relations with Civil Society, and Mr. Bamariem Koita, President of the Human Rights Commission, in the presence of the Minister of Justice.

The first day of the workshop was dedicated to key stakeholders involved in the prevention of torture and other ill treatment, namely the members and staff of the CNDH, government officials, police, penitentiary staff and NGOs working on protection of dignity of persons deprived of liberty (around 50 participants). Staff of international organisations active in Mauritania in the domain of torture prevention also participated, namely staff of the newly opened OHCHR field office and from the ICRC delegation, to ensure synergies and joint approaches with CNDH.

Issues discussed were the concept of prevention, fundamental judicial and procedural safeguards against torture, detention monitoring conducted by the International Committee of the Red Cross and Mauritania’s commitments during the Universal Periodic Review. Participants engaged in lively plenary discussions and group work.

The second day consisted of the training and exchange of experience for members of the CNDH (around 25 participants). It included discussion on detention monitoring methodology, visit preparation, the conducting of interviews in private with detainees and follow-up on visits, in particular through report writing and formulating concrete recommendations.

The workshop took place in the context of an increase of the detention monitoring powers of the CNDH, as their founding legislation has been strengthened in July 2010, giving it more explicit powers to conduct unannounced visits to places of detention.

The APT also discussed the potential for OPCAT ratification with relevant stakeholder, who showed interest in promoting OPCAT ratification in the country.
Outcome:
  • National discussion on torture prevention, in particular on how to implement recommendations related to torture prevention stemming from the Universal Periodic Review in 2011 and the visit of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in 2008.
  • Enhanced capacities on monitoring places of detention.
Next Steps: This was the first activity that the APT has conducted in Mauritania. The APT aims to discuss follow-up with the CNDH and other Mauritanian stakeholders.
Documents: Agenda 06 April 2011 (French)
Agenda 07 April 2011 (French)
National Commission for Human Rights Law 2010-031
Media: Le gouvernement se préoccupe de l’amélioration des conditions de détention...
Contact Persons: Esther Schaufelberger, APT MENA Programme Officer
Jean-Sébastien Blanc, APT Detention Monitoring Adviser
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