It has been a busy year for Boubou Diouf Tall and his team at the newly established National Observer of Places of Deprivation of Liberty in Senegal. This National Preventive Mechanism was designated in 2011 and operational by the end of 2012. Since then, Boubou Diouf Tall has travelled the country to visit prisons and police stations and to inform local authorities and the general public about his institution and its mandate.
"The situation of persons deprived of liberty in Senegal needs to be improved, greatly improved. Prisons in all regions are inadequate and severely overcrowded."
There is still a long way to go, but Mr Tall is optimistic. So far, the different actors – including those directly in charge of places of detention – have accepted the NPM. There is a growing interest in its work, not least from the media, and Mr Tall has seen a gradual change of attitudes:
"Prison authorities and law enforcement officials are very careful now. They know that at any time, even at night, someone from the national mechanism can come for an unexpected visit."
In October, the APT invited Boubou Diouf Tall and two members of his team to Switzerland, for an exchange of experiences and good practices with the Swiss National Commission for the Prevention of Torture. Among other things, they undertook a joint monitoring visit to a juvenile detention centre in Geneva.
Mr Tall looks forward to continue the close collaboration with the APT and with other national partners:
"My aim, perhaps utopian but still feasible, is at the end of my 5 years, to have no torture in Senegal. It is my wish, it’s my goal. And I think we should be able to achieve this."