‘WE WANT REPORT ON TORTURE, SARS,’ SAY UN
The United Nations has called on the Federal Government to provide, by 3 December 2022, information on its follow-up to the Committee’s recommendations in its latest report on torture in Nigeria.
According to the global body, the information should dwell on “allegations of torture, ill-treatment, arbitrary detention and excessive use of force, in particular by SARS.”
In its latest report on Torture in Nigeria, the UN Committee against Torture (CAT) also sought information on pretrial detention and overcrowding; the national preventive mechanism; and gender-based violence. “In the same context, the State party is invited to inform the Committee about its plans for implementing within the coming reporting period, some or all of the remaining recommendations in the concluding observations,” said the Torture Committee.”
Turning to “Redress, including compensation and rehabilitation,” the UN Committee against Torture welcomed sections 6 and 9 of Nigeria’s Anti-Torture Act that stipulate access to legal assistance and right to claim compensation for torture and ill-treatment, “and the part 32 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 that provides for costs, compensation, damages and restitution for victims of crime.”
It however “regrets the lack of information on the actual application of those provisions, including the data on victims of torture and ill-treatment who have obtained redress thus far. The Committee also regrets the lack of information whether victims of torture had received medical or psychosocial rehabilitation, in addition to compensation, and whether specific rehabilitation programmes have been established for them (arts. 2 and 14).”
The Committee urged the Federal Government to “Ensure that an explicit provision in the Anti-Torture Act allows victims of torture and ill-treatment to obtain redress, including the means for as full a rehabilitation as possible, as set out in its general comment No. 3 (2012),” and
“Establish rehabilitation programmes for victims of torture and ill-treatment, in cooperation with specialized civil society organizations, for example through mandating judicial panels operating across the country, and allocate resources to implement such programmes.”
Speaking on the follow-up procedure, the Committee “invites the State party to consider making the declarations under articles 21 and 22 of the Convention and to ratify any core United Nations human rights treaties to which it is not yet party.”
It also urged the Federal Government to “disseminate widely the report submitted to the Committee and the present concluding observations, in appropriate languages, through official websites, the media and non-governmental organizations and to inform the Committee about these activities.”
On the continued default by Nigeria on its reporting obligations to the Torture Committee, the CAT urged Nigeria “to comply with its reporting obligations under article 19 of the Convention and to submit its report, which will be considered its second, by 3 December 2025. To that end, the Committee invites the State party to accept, by 3 December 2022, to prepare its report under the simplified reporting procedure, whereby the Committee will transmit to the State party a list of issues prior to reporting. The State party’s response to that list of issues will constitute its second periodic report under article 19 of the Convention.”
The Committee against Torture is a United Nations body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment by its State parties. The Committee against Torture is composed of 10 independent experts who are persons of high moral character and recognized competence in the field of human rights. The Committee is currently chaired by Mr. Claude Heller.
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