Nigeria : Fight against torture
ProCAT : Judicial assistance for torture victims and promotion of the principles of the United Nations Convention against torture (march 2009 - june 2012)
ASF France is carrying out actions in Nigeria since about 10 years following its intervention to support and defend Amina Lawal, a young woman who was condemned to be stoned by a Sharia court for having a child out of wedlock.The trial was an opportunity to aknowledge nigerian judicial system's numerous difficulties.
Although Nigeria has ratified United Nations' Convention Against Torture in 2001, many obstacles prevent its effective implementation: non-observance of fundamental rights during police investigations, dysfunctional judicial assistance services, etc. Torture is commonly used during custodies in order to obtain confessions. Judicial assistance is almost non-existent: access to rights and law is very difficult for the most vulnerable people.
To contribute, by mobilising judicial nigerian actors and informing the population, to the lowering of acts of torture and ill-treatment commited during the judicial procedure.
Targeted states : Kaduna, Kano, Jos and Lagos
- Judicial assistance: Aide juridique : a team of 8 lawyers (2 lawyers per targeted Stats) provide free judicial assistance to detainees who are victims of torture. The objective is to develop a jurisprudence aknowledging the absolute interdiction of torture in regards to the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT).
- Judicial actors training: trainings are based on the principle of the CAT and given in each States to police officers, lawyers, magistrates and penitentiary staffs. Roundtables are also organised in order to initiate dialogue between justice professionals and to identify best practices.
- Sensibilisation : communication and sensibilisation action are undertaken in order to remind everyone the interdiction of torture and the possibility of resorting a lawyer. Sensibilisation implies the diffusion of postersn flyers, radio spots, and the organisation of sensibilisation workshops in the targeted States.
- Judicial assistance
The lawyers working on the project in each of the 4 States have visited prisons and identified 298 cases. 46 persons have been freed on bail, whilst 25 persons have seen the charges drop and were freed. Finally, 16 of the procedures carried out before Nigeria High Court for torture victims have succeeded: the torture has been recognized as inconstitutional, the persons who were freed obtained almost 5 000€ in compensation.
- Judicial actors training
9 training sessions were carried out and 5 roundtables organised: March 2010: Kaduna (training )- June 2010: Lagos (training) - June 2010 : Kano (training) - October 2010: Kaduna (training + roundtable) - November 2010: Lagos (training + roundtable) - May 2011: Kano (training + roundtable) - July 2011 : Kaduna (training + roundtable) - September 2011 (training + roundtable) - November 2011 : Plateau (training)
- Raising awareness
Diffusion of poster and radio spots.
Sensibilisation meetings were held during ASF France missions with community leaders and civil society representants.
Cofunded by the European Union, the Agence Française de Développement and the Swiss Embassy.
Legal Aid Council of Nigeria , Nigerian Bar Association