World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Africa: Torture Is Rife Across The Region

News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International

20 October 2000 AFR 01/003/2000 202/00


At a press conference in Nairobi, Kenya, to mark the launch of the Campaign against Torture in the African region, Amnesty International said that torture is widespread across Africa from Cote d'Ivoire to Zimbabwe.

"Torture is evident in Africa in a variety of different contexts -- in police stations, on the street, in the home and in conflict zones. Anyone can be a victim ? criminal suspects, innocent bystanders, political activists, human rights defenders, women and children. No one, no matter who they are or where they are, should be subjected to such inhumanity," Amnesty International said.

Although police officers are responsible for upholding the law, they are most often the torturers. Police brutality is common throughout the region. People have died in custody as a result of torture in many countries, from Cameroon to Equatorial Guinea.

In South Africa police continue to resort to methods of investigation used in the apartheid era, despite the prohibition of torture in the Constitution. Zweli Kenneth Ndlozi was taken from his home in Soweto in September 1998 after being accused of involvement in the theft of firearms. Two days later he was found dead hanging in a police cell. A post mortem revealed cigarette burns and a severe blow to his head. More than 200 deaths in custody were reported in 1998.

Not all police brutality occurs in custody. In Zambia in August 1997, hundreds of heavily armed paramilitary police officers beat peaceful protesters and uninvolved passers by with batons and fired tear gas canisters. Witnesses said that two protesters were beaten to death.

Government forces and militias in situations of armed conflict often use torture. Women are particularly vulnerable to rape as they are seen as "spoils of war". Rebel forces have used an unprecedented scale of mutilation and rape in nine years of armed conflict in Sierra Leone: more than 90 per cent of women and girls abducted by rebel forces are believed to have been raped.

Children are also the victims of torture in armed conflict. Many child soldiers are forced to fight through torture and intimidation. In northern Uganda the Lord's Resistance Army has abducted thousands of boys and girls. Soon after they are seized they are forced to take part in killing and girls are held as sexual slaves.

Although torture is illegal under international law, some forms of it legally sanctioned under domestic law in some African countries. In the last three years amputations have taken place in Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan, and floggings and corporal punishment took place in Kenya, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Tanzania, Sudan and Somalia. Only 23 African countries have ratified the Convention against Torture.

During the year-long campaign, Amnesty International will be mobilizing its membership in Africa and throughout the world, and working together with other organizations to change public and official attitudes to torture. It will be calling on Africa's governments to take real steps to prevent torture, overcome impunity and address discrimination.

For a full copy of Amnesty International's launch report, visit www.stoptorture.org

You may repost this message onto other sources provided the main text is not altered in any way and both the header crediting Amnesty International and this footer remain intact. Only the list subscription message may be removed.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>

ALSO:

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news