PRAWA urges FG to amend Anti-Torture Act to accommodate rehabilitation of victims •Launches 24/7 Helplines for torture victims, survivors

Posted by News Express | 26 June 2020 | 590 times

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•PRAWA’s Deputy Director Ogechi Ogu

A non-profit organisation, Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA), has called on the Federal Government to amend the Anti-torture Act to provide for rehabilitation for torture victims and support institutional as well as sustainable structure for its effective implementation.

The call was made in a statement on Thursday by PRAWA’s Deputy Director, Ms Ogechi Ogu, as part of the International Day in Support of Torture Victims celebrated annually on June 26 across the world. She said that major highlight event of the week is the launch of a 24/7 Helplines for trauma counseling and provision of other psychological support to torture victims/survivors.

Ms Ogu said the call is in line with the Vision and Mission of PRAWA and the rehabilitation component of its work and that as a short term measure, FG should also include rehabilitation in the standard operating guideline for the implementation of the existing law on torture.

She stressed that an important intervention necessary for the restoration of victims of torture to normal life missing in the Nigerian legislation is the right of victims to rehabilitation.

According to her, all victims of torture have an explicit right to Rehabilitation under Article 14 of the United Nations Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

She further urged on the government to among other things "provide an efficient and effective framework for the enforcement of the anti-torture law and the laws against police brutality; and partner with relevant international and national bodies such as the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in order to support torture victims and provide rehabilitation services.

Ms Ogu also solicited for the development of a case management system of data accounting for numbers of tortured victims within police detention facilities and out of the facilities; and ensure that the National Preventive Mechanism is functioning in accordance with the requirements of the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT).”

As Nigeria joins the global community in the celebration of the International Day for Support to Torture Victims, PRAWA called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to put sustainable mechanisms in place to ensure the effective and efficient implementation of these recommendations.

The PRAWA Deputy Director also called for the establishment of a database of all persons in detention in all places of detention in Nigeria and that all places of detention should be made accessible for independent monitoring and oversight.

“PRAWA on its part and in furtherance of its mission and vision is committed to the provision of support to torture victims. We organising a week-long activities for the commemoration of the International Day for the Support of Torture Victims in Nigeria.

Ogu listed some of the activities outlined for the week to include sensitisation and awareness campaign on torture; media engagements; panel discussions on social media; interview sessions with survivors of torture; and virtual training on trauma counseling for volunteer psychologists and counselors (in partnership with Global Justice & Resource Center USA, International Federation for Psychotherapy (IFP) Center and International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT).

“We must all therefore commit to the healing of torture victims from the disturbing long term effects of constant fear, debilitating depression and regular panic attacks which prevents them from caring for themselves, their families and contributing to their communities.”

Source: News Express

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