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Amend anti-torture act to accommodate rehabilitation of victims, group tells FG

Amend anti-torture act to accommodate rehabilitation of victims, group tells FG
June 25
19:31 2020

The Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA) has asked on the federal government to amend the anti-torture act to ensure the provision of rehabilitation services for victims of torture.

In a statement on Thursday, Ogechi Ogu, deputy director, PRAWA, said the intervention to help victims of torture return to their normal lives “is missing in the Nigerian legislation.”

In celebration of the international day in support of torture victims marked annually on June 26 across the world, Ogu said PRAWA will launch 24/7 helplines for “trauma counselling and provision of other psychological support to torture victims/survivors.”

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.”

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She urged the government to “provide an efficient and effective framework for the enforcement of the anti-torture law and the laws against police brutality; 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.”

The PRAWA deputy director also called for the “establishment of a database accounting for of all persons in detention and that detention facilities should be made accessible for independent monitoring and oversight.

Ogu added that the government should also “develop 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).”

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

PRAWA will also organise a one-week programme with activities such as sensitisation and awareness campaign on torture through media engagements; panel discussions on social media; interview sessions with survivors of torture, and virtual training on trauma counselling for volunteer psychologists and counsellors.

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