AFRICA CENTRE AGAINST TORTURE-ACAT is a non-profit international organization. Its principal objective is the abolition of torture by holding accountable the governments and individuals who perpetrate torture in the society. The organization is recognised under  Swiss law.




  • Eradicate torture in the society.
  • To hold accountable the governments and individuals who perpetrate torture.
  • Obtain justice for survivors of torture.
  • To develop the means of ensuring compliance with international standards and securing remedies for victims.
  • To emerge as a global actor in the fight against torture in partnership with UN committee against torture, National, regional and international mechanism.


  • Strengthening legal and policy frameworks, so that torture and other forms of ill-treatment are criminalised and safeguards are in place.
  • Research and documentation of tortured-refugees, migrants and IDPs.
  • Advocacy, with the public institution and civil society groups aimed at influencing Laws and Policies.
  • Improving detention practices, to reduce the risk of torture and ill-treatment in police custody and increase protection of all detained persons, in particular, those of vulnerability.
  • Capacity Building – working in partnership with like-minded organisations around the world.
  • Public awareness and general public support for torture victims, of the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on 26 June.


  • Society from torture and the highest priority in decisions and interventions is given to promoting survivors of torture well-being and the avoidance of further traumatization….



The organization welcomes president Kenyatta for signing the anti-torture legislation to ensure justice for victims of torture and adequate compensation.

Victims of police brutality, torture and inhuman treatment are free to sue the state for compensation after the president signed into law.

The prevention of the act 2016 gives effects to provisions of the constitution that guarantee freedom from torture, cruelty and punishment. Perpetrator will be liable for a 15 years jail or a sh2 million.

Challenged the government to compensate victims of post-election violence 2007/08 as a way of commitment in the new law in place, in March 2015 president Kenyatta set aside 10billion for compensation of victims to date no record available in public over the same.

The organization challenged most post-conflict countries in Africa victims of various atrocities yet to get justice and reparation good example Kenya, Rwanda and Liberia despite judicial reforms in place.Government show commitment to implementing the new legislation.

Regional Director African Centre Against Torture-ACAT,

David Katam.

” Watch “Documentary on the engagement of Civil Society Organisations in the reporting process of the UN Committee against Torture” on #Vimeo

ENYA: 2017 elections: broken promises put human rights defenders at risk

Geneva-Nairobi-Paris, May 3, 2017 – The abduction, torture and killing of renowned Kenyan human rights lawyer Willie Kimani in June 2016 shocked the entire world, provoking a wave of outrage at national and international level. This is only the tip of the iceberg of a widespread pattern of violence and harassment aimed at silencing dissenting voices and perpetuating impunity, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (OMCT-FIDH partnership) has concluded after a recently conducted mission.

Kenya, a country that in 2010 voted a very progressive Constitution strengthening the country’s human rights framework in compliance with international standards, has in recent years chosen a different path. Unfortunately, so far the freedoms enshrined in the constitutional Bill of Rights have not been fully incorporated into domestic legislation, and, most importantly, are not upheld or implemented in practice.

“To date, the effective implementation of this progressive framework, unfortunately, remains a mirage and still needs substantial improvement”, declared OMCT Secretary General Gerald Staberock. “With all the right instruments put in place to bring about change, lack of implementation and political will appear to be the main reasons for such disillusionment”.

On the contrary, a report published today by the Observatory accounts for high levels of police and security forces’ violence, especially against human rights defenders involved in the fight against impunity for human rights violations. The mission report compiles several testimonies of incidents of violence, including cases of harassment, threats, torture, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings.

Moreover, human rights defenders are often criminalised on the basis of trumped-up charges, which aim at intimidating them through episodes of frequent arrests, detentions in police stations, long trials and punitive bail and bond terms. This inevitably prevents them from pursuing their legitimate human rights activities.

Adding to this, the lack of a clear legal framework regulating the civil society sector due to the failure to commence implementation of the Public Benefit Organisations (PBO) Act 2013 creates a legal limbo which obliges NGOs to operate in a hostile environment, characterised by the threat of arbitrary de-registration and asset freezes, continuous attacks and smearing campaigns.

“In such a context, and ahead of the upcoming general elections, it is urgent that Kenyan authorities publicly recognise the crucial role of human rights defenders as pillars of democracy and watchdogs of the rule of law. They must improve their safety, truly implement the police and security sector reforms, hold perpetrators accountable, acknowledge the misuse of criminal law to harass defenders, and finally commence the PBO Act of 2013”, concluded FIDH President Dimitris Christopoulos.

The full report is available online via @YouTube







EUROPE AND SUB-SAHARA AFRICA.’s-Dadaab-camp/4823638437001








  • 1 and 16 UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment (CAT)
  • 10 International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
  • Article 5 Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • 7 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
  • 8 Arab Charter on Human Rights
  • 5 African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights
  • 3 European Convention on Human Rights
  • 5 American Convention on Human Rights
  • 37 Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • 15 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities







The UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT Convention) is the principal universal reference for the eradication of torture. It provides authoritative mechanisms to monitor its effective implementation through the Committee against Torture (CAT Committee) and Sub-committee for the prevention of torture (SPT). One of the mechanisms is the State reporting process, an important tool to review compliance with the Convention and to generate political will by offering technical guidance towards domestic anti-torture reforms.

The effectiveness of this process depends significantly on the involvement of national and local civil society organisations (CSOs): their capacity to inform the CAT Committee on the current implementation of the Convention in their country and their actions towards the implementation of the Concluding Observations



The sab-Sahara Africa and especially in for many years Libya has been both a destination and transit country for refugees and boat migrants fleeing poverty, conflict or persecution in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. Many come to Libya hoping to reach Europe, but the rise of lawlessness and the threat posed by armed groups has exacerbated the risk they face leading even established communities of migrants who have been living and working in Libya for years to flee to Europe boat, abuses in migration detention centres where thousands of migrants and refugees including children face indefinite detention in deplorable condition.

These human rights violation committed by Eritrean authorities have been without accountability the regime’s brutality has forced hundredths of thousands of Eritreans to flee the country to states across North Africa and middle east including Libya, Sudan Egypt and Israel the mass exodus from Eritrea has produced grave threat to thousands of individuals fleeing threats of which are diverse as they are deadly. The initial threat to fleeing begins with border crossing where refugees are often intercepted and or shot by boarded guards in Eritrean, Egypt and Sudan. These horrors are driving refugees and migrants to risk their lives in treacherous sea crossing in desperate attempt to reach safety.


Threats of dehydration and exposure to the harsh Sahara elements frequently mean the refugees are dependent on smugglers transporting them across North Africa. However, within these smuggling networks, numerous refugees have been raped, tortured, abducted and ransomed by traffickers and smugglers as well as systematic exploited by their transporters. Many have died on these horrific journeys due to harsh condition, abuses and are frequently killed based on their ethnicity and religion identity.



Smugglers are the perpetrators of these abuses cause of the authorities inability to provide for the refugees pouring in the country. The exhausted refugees and asylum seekers placed within militia-run detention centres desperate living condition and face mistreatment by security personnel within the detention compound such as Tarik as – Sikka, numerous witness has reported that authorities and guards have separated families, raped women, withheld food and water, chained people and beaten men, women, and children those who attempt to escape from these various compound and centres are usually killed or torture. There is complete impunity for traffickers in Sudan and Egypt who torture refugees and for any security official working with them, they should respond to this action efforts to arrest the traffickers and show zero tolerance.





Europe nation are fighting their borders shutting down train and ramping up rhetoric to stop a huge refugees from reaching their countries, While those in various destinations in Europe experiences ill-treatment by military border guards and Despite the generally predictable nature of transit in arrivals, reception centres currently taken unacceptable and hoc approach that barely covers basic needs and does not adequately ensure the safety and security of new arrivals, particularly for the most vulnerable including those who have experienced violence. Extreme mental and physical hardship they have escaped and endured, upon arrival in Europe, poor reception condition expose them to further suffering and renewed vulnerability and uncertainty, children and women are subject to inhuman condition no adequate facilities and overcrowding camp for instance in Calais and the process of processing asylum seekers takers too long and frustrating. There is need to open up safe and legal routes for refugees so that they can reach Europe and asylum seekers without using overcrowded boats or walk long distance carrying children. France, Israel Swedish, Norway, Russia and France are some of the countries refugees have experience isolation and inhumane treatment.





Side event examines lack of reporting of cases of reprisals.


During the panel discussion (10 June), ISHR Director Bjorn Pettersson said the NGO community knows reprisals is a major issue amongst human rights defenders – so an actual lack of cases was unlikely to be the issue leading to a lack of reporting. More likely, he said, was that the fear experienced by human rights defenders was preventing them from reporting the problem.

Joining Mr Pettersson on the panel were Hassan Shire, of the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network, David Koros, from the Center against Torture, and Christophe Peschoux, from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Some 50 civil society and State representatives were in attendance, including delegations from Denmark, Hungary, Norway, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.

The event was co-sponsored by Amnesty International, Asian Legal Resource Centre, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, CIVICUS, East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network, Human Rights House Foundation, Human Rights Watch, International Federation for Human Rights, International Commission of Jurists, International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims, International Service for Human Rights, and World Organisation against Torture.

Key areas of discussion

Mr Shire shared an overview of the serious challenges faced by defenders in the East and Horn of Africa sub-region – including by those that cooperate with UN mechanisms. He said it was distressing that cases of reprisals were not only linked to cooperation with UN special procedures but also the UPR process. He provided examples of reprisals related to the UPR of Rwanda and of Ethiopia.

Mr Shire said the immediate priority should be measured to protect victims of reprisals from further threats and attacks: ‘…until these are in place, it is hard to see that more people will come forward to report such cases… The Human Rights Council must also give a higher priority to the issue and make the report a more visible fixture on the agenda. It should respond publicly to reprisals… raising the political costs of such acts, as well as ensuring systematic follow-up on all cases, especially those pending from past reports,’ he said.

Mr Koros, from the Centre against Torture, focused on the importance of witnesses for ensuring justice and, therefore, the need for effective witness protection programmes. He emphasised the need for the international community to work with local actors to enable and strengthen witness protection programmes.

However, he said, the best solution was not to remove human rights defenders from their environments and place them in a protection programme – since this would ultimately be an impediment to their work. A better solution was to take preventative measures and provide protection that enables them to safely carry out their work.

Mr Peschoux, of OHCHR, paid tribute to the many human rights defenders that had cooperated with the UN and suffered reprisals as a result.

He said it was important to also remember the positive results of human rights defenders collaborating with the United Nations. For example, a prison monitoring programme in Cambodia and visits by the, then, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Cambodia to prisoners, had led to a significant improvement in detention conditions, and better treatment of prisoners, respectively.

Mr Peschoux said the active presence of OHCHR in countries had helped to deter reprisals. In Cambodia, for example, there had been no reported cases of reprisals against individuals since OHCHR’s presence in the country was established.

Key to this was OHCHR establishing a constructive modus operandi with the government of the host country, and engaging in a constant effort to bridge the gap between civil society and governments.

Mr Peshcoux stressed the responsibility for protection as a prerequisite for engagement with human rights defenders – saying that if bodies were not able to protect defenders then they should not compromise their safety by engaging with them.

He said a highlight towards the end of the year would be the release of a manual by OHCHR, aimed at providing direction to UN human rights officers in the field, including practical guidance on ensuring the protection of witnesses. This would help combat the issue of lack of awareness contributing to compromises in safety. He said he hoped the manual would prove to be a useful tool for civil society organisations also.

Following presentations by the panellists, the discussion was opened for questions from the floor. Important points raised included: issues NGOs should keep in mind for protection of their partners; questions from States regarding what they too could do to help protect human rights defenders; the need to increase accountability of States for cases raised in the Secretary General’s report on reprisals; whether protection tools used by other bodies – such as the International Labour Organization – could also be useful for the UN human rights system; the fact that there are other tools for reporting cases of reprisals, in addition to the Secretary General’s report, e.g. Special Procedures; that human rights defenders should report cases of reprisals to OHCHR even if they did not want the cases published in the Secretary General’s report – as this provided a valuable overview of the issue to the Secretariat, and enabled the possibility of including cases in the report at a later date if the situation changed to allow this.


Torture by state and perpetrated by armed groups in transit routes in north African countries is becoming worrying, the on-going refugees’ crisis in Africa and around the world especially sab-Sahara Africa is becoming a crisis movement this is attributed to economic and rising of violence in some countries. There are several routes in Africa which link to exit to Europe through chad, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, Niger and chad is the countries with main transits routes which connects Algeria through Ceuta detention centre (Spain) to Marseille in France, Niger through sabha in (Libya) way to Libya to (Malta and lampendu) in Italy, while the east African Somali and Eritrean route Sudan Egypt to ajdabiye in (Libya) destination to malta in (Italy) and the other complex route through Sinai in (Egypt) to Israel. And those in Yemen and Syria find there way back to Egypt to Libya all these routes are manned by checkpoints.

Detention Centre, Morocco 18, Tunisia 22, Libya 63, Egypt 33, South Africa 4 and Kenya 6 about 145 active detention centre in Africa mainly for refugees.

BenghaziBaniwaled,AjdabiAbusalimbayda,Alzintan,Tarhuna,Tobruk,Janzour, Alkhums etc.


-Challenge are overcrowded, sexual harassment, torture, extortion, brutality, lack medical and counselling services, Torture by private guards manning the detention centres.

According to flow monitoring report of IOM Displacement Tracking Metric for July –August 2016 routes used by migrants who reach and or transit through Libya to destination countries, On the journey most travelling in groups, without relative and majority single, those bordering Libya then to travel with families it cost alot of money during their travel, according to DTM period from June to July 2016, Niger reported observed outflows of 42,879 migrants from Niger, headed in the direction of Al Quorum in Libya , at the same time an inflow of 13,802 migrants was reported along the same route , the main nationalities of migrants were from Niger, Nigeria and Gambia,chad,Tunisia,Algeria,Mauritania ,Gameroun,Chana and Mali.

Detention centres in Morocco, Tunis, Libya and Egypt many of them situated along the shores of the sea migrants are subject to torture and ill-treatment by both the authorities and the private security guards many refugees are beaten up subject them to the overcrowded environment. Amnesty reports of 2014 and 2015 were also told of abuse in migration centres where migrants and refugees including children can be held indefinitely, one woman said official at one centre had beaten pregnant women to death. There is complete impunity for traffickers in Sudan and Egypt who torture refugees and for any security official working with them, they should respond to this action efforts to arrest the traffickers and show zero tolerance.

Most of this routes are on dessert a lot of risk cause of no classified transport system just routes in the desert travelling with women and children smugglers and traffickers are the perpetrators of torture where they are involved in abduction and extorting the migrants along the routes many of the victims lose a lot of money and posed their life in danger. According to the victims’ interview by amnesty, most of them admitted that they were being tortured in the detention centres, while others in with the smugglers, abductors during their travel some admitted travelling without food for a period of time while in Sinai deserts experience horrible situation along the deserts.

Amnesty International report on 2014-documented abduction, torture and other abuses by smugglers and armed groups in Libya, these horrors are driving many refugees and migrants to risk their lives in treacherous sea crossing in a desperate attempt to reach safety Europe. Efforts to destroy smugglers vessels before they are used could leave migrants and refugees trapped in conflict zone introducing measures to tackle smugglers, without providing safe alternative routs out for the people desperate to flee conflict in Libya will not resolve the plight of migrants and refugees. Neighbouring courtiers like Tunisia and Egypt must keep their borders open to ensure any violence fleeing violence and prosecution in Libya is granted, safe refugees.

Cities along the migrant’s routes, such as Sabha in the Southwest or the coastal city Reports indicated that migrate and refugees faced abuses at all stages of the smugglings routes from West Africa and East Africa towards Libya coast. Many were abducted and tortured to force them and their families to pay ransoms, those unable to pay are often held effectively as slavers-forced to work without pay physical assaulted and robbed, smugglers also sometimes pass the migrants and refugees on to criminal groups once they cross the border in the desert areas or in transit of Ajdabiya in eastern Libya.

According to the Nigerian women told amnesty she was raped when she arrived in Sabha in dece 2012 after a gang of five armed robbers had abducted her and her husband. They took us to a far place outside the city in the desert. They tied my husband hands and legs to a pole and gang raped me in front of his eyes she said. The report further said that abuse not confined to deserts areas but continue in Cities.Ibrahim 25 from Mali alleged was abducted in Tripoli September 2015 and he was kept in a small dirty room with 46 others.” You are detained so that you have to pay”.

There is particular risk faced by Christian at the hands of some armed groups, such as Islamic law people from Nigeria Eritrea, Ethiopia and Egypt have been abducted, tortured, unlawful killed and harassed because of their religion at least 49 Christian killed last year mostly from Egypt and Ethiopia were beheaded and sot in three mass summary killings claimed by the group calling itself the Islamic state _(ic)

Migrants and refugees also face widespread abduction, torture, theft and physical assault by criminal gangs and human smugglers, often at Libya south borders and along the smuggling routes to the Libya coast. It comes with numerous risk however some speak of having been the victims of detention, rape and torture and being targeted because they were foreigners, unaccompanied minors and women travelling alone are particularly vulnerable.



Further research is a need in the documentation of torture along the transit routes and the destination in Europe.

Identify the nature and scale of torture and ill-treatment experienced by asylum-seekers and other migrants at all stages of their journey.
Examining the laws and policies of the state obligation.
To highlight how underline policies and structural factors create a regime that highlight that those seeking entry will be subjected torture and ill-treatment abuses.
Formation of a consortium of anti-torture of refugees along the transit routes
Setting up regional working groups within the NGOs network coming up with the best practice.
Development of guide that highlights challenges of refugees both in Africa and destination in Europe.
Establishment of regional tribunal to investigate torture and mass killings of refugees during transit routes.
Established countries their role & offshore processing centres, both in serving the end of the destination countries and the environment in which individuals regularly face torture &ill-treatment.
Seek to intensify its support to civil society organizations to engage in a more sophisticated way on the debate on security, human rights and torture prevention. Seek to be more engaged to prevent a disengagement from rule of law reforms and supporting its partners internationally with actors that may have the influence on their countries governments. Joint work with members in the region will be developed to reset the agenda for anti-torture reforms.

The following are the recommendation STATES-Hosting refugees) .

The state concerned should Investigate and prosecute traffickers for kidnapping, torturing and killings in Egypt and Sudan Sinai peninsula.

Ensuring minimum standards for the reception of venerable people are upheld including. Specific attention to the victims of torture and gender-based violence,
Separate, adequate living areas for unaccompanied minors and women travelling alone.

Improving overall condition in reception centres and proper monitoring and developing a concrete plan for the reception of the continued arrival of significant numbers of refugees and migrants in the coming period.
Action impunity for traffickers in Sudan and Egypt who torture refugees and for any security official working with them, they should respond to this action efforts to arrest the traffickers and show zero tolerance.
Establishment of counselling centres Couse of extreme mental and physical hardship they have escaped and endured, upon Arrival in Europe, poor reception condition expose them to further suffering and renewed vulnerability and uncertainty.
Address the crisis on the generally predictable nature of arrivals, reception centres currently taken unacceptable ad hoc approach that barely covers basic needs and does not adequately ensure the safety and security of new arrivals, particularly for the most vulnerable including those who have experienced violence.
Call for action by countries to adequately investigate and prosecute traffickers who severely abuse the victims and collusion by the security official breach their obligation under the UN convention against torture, international human rights law, and international trafficking laws.
Countries should stop detaining trafficking victims and assist and protect them including allowing them to access the refugee’s agencies.
When the traffickers freed Eritreans whose families have paid their ramson, Egyptian border police often intercepted the Eritreans. The police transferred the Eritreans cases to military prosecution and then detained the Eritreans for months in the human and degrading condition in Sinai police station. In most cases Egyptian prosecutors have charged the Eritreans with immigration offences and denied them access to urgent medical care as well as to the UN refugees agency, this action violates Egypt’s 2010 law combating human trafficking, which says trafficking victims should receive assistance, protection and immunity from prosecution.
Call to effectively implement the report on March 13, 2014, the European Parliament also called on Egypt and Sudan to end traffickers abuses and to investigate the allegation of security forces collusion with traffickers.
Calling for developed countries to increases the number of resettlement places for venerable refugees and for the international community to take effective places to urgently address human rights abuses and serious violations of international humanitarian law being committed by all sides in Libya.
The host countries should not discriminate the migrants but should uphold fair treatments to all as guaranteed in the Universal declaration of human rights.

Links and resources: refugees-in-france-a6978661.html


Torture perpetrated by state/ non-state actors has been consistently prohibited by international human rights law and condemned in a number of international convections. Emerging of torture by non-state actors poses global threats.

No mechanisms at international level legally establish the nature of the conflict and torture by non-state actors, the actual perpetrators of torture under the rules of State responsibility, inadequate investigation, impunity and lack of legal framework in criminal justice system, Moreover Classic torture by private actors an emerging and distinct form of violence, predominately gender-based violence.

Further research needed of criminal organizations and their impacts on state institution and social groups’ to advance the search for solutions to social violence, understanding the nature of the gangs/ militia is a crucial step towards devising specific countermeasures to address violence groups on a case-by-case basis. The recent passed Shia militia in Iraq, Mungiki in Kenya, Shabina in Syria, Boko Haram in Nigeria and imbonerakure in Burundi.

Educating of Non-state actors on human rights and international humanitarian law and the application of UN treaties such as UNCAT, OPCAT and CRC the impact of international human rights standard is limited in practice, need to enhance accountability for international crimes, standard setting and practical implementation.

Human rights obligations on individuals to criminal prosecutions of perpetrators and judgments 
awarding compensation for victims in a civil action. Lack of judicial receptiveness and awareness familiarity of the instruments is a major barrier to the application of international law in most jurisdictions, reviewed of state tough formulated anti-terrorism legislation.

In conclusion, states to acknowledge and embrace the legal norms they have obligated to uphold. If we fail to address our human rights concerns to these non-state perpetrators we fail the victims of the abuses.

Writer David katam Human rights activist Kenya