The pain, anguish and suffering of victims of torture does not end once the physical scars go away. On the international day in support of victims of torture, Contra Nocendi wish to express our support once again for survivors of torture and their right to reparations and rehabilitation. There is no doubt that the prohibition of torture is absolute and there is no justification for the employment of methods, acts or behaviour that inflict torture on another person. There are no circumstances in which it may be acceptable to subject another human being to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. While this prohibition is clear, so to is the fact that all victims of torture deserve our full support.
Contra Nocendi’s work on detention centre monitoring and providing legal counsel to pre-trial detainees has given a first-hand glimpse at the impact torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment can have on. The impact of living in overcrowded detention centres has been a glaring and continuous issue. The living situations can become so poor that this may amount to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment. The issue of overcrowding has continued to be more acute during the covid-19 pandemic. There is much more to be done for the detention conditions to be humane. Contra Nocendi will continue to monitor the situation in detention and fight for humane detention conditions as a means to prevent torture, inhuman or degrading treatment and to promote the human dignity of all persons held in detention.
Survivors of torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment have a right to rehabilitation and reparations for what happened to them. The Guidelines and Measures for the Prohibition and Prevention of Torture, Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in Africa adopted by the African Commission in 2002 underlines that the right to reparation from the state exists regardless if there is a successful criminal prosecution or not. Contra Nocendi contributed with our views during the consultation in preparation of the general comment no. 4: The Right to Redress for Victims of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Punishment or Treatment adopted by the African Commission in 2017. The general comment states that “Reparation includes restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction – including the right to the truth, and guarantees of nonrepetition.” This right is central for survivors to have a chance to heal and move forward.
Contra Nocendi calls on all countries to respect international and regional standards and fight to eradicate torture in all its forms. We call on Cameroon and all states in Africa to support and fully implement the above-mentioned guidelines to prevent torture and offer rehabilitation and compensation for the survivors. The prohibition of torture must be practically implemented and must protect all persons from the infliction of torture.
Contra Nocendi International and Contra Nocendi Cameroon will continue our work against torture in all its forms. We remain deeply committed in our support to victims of torture and will continue to monitor the situation closely.