Today, the Executive Secretary of MEHSOG, Humphrey Kofie, will meet with Juan Mendez, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture. Mr Mendez will be in Ghana until the 14 November. This is his first visit to sub-Saharan Africa.
Mendez says: “I will engage with decision-makers and key actors on various aspects relating to my mandate, from legislative amendments to the criminal law, including the definition of torture, to encouraging the establishment of a national mechanism for the prevention of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” The Special Rapporteur will also examine prisoners’ rights and conditions of detention, in particular for those spending years in prison either awaiting trial or serving lengthy sentences.
“My ultimate task”, he stressed, “is to engage in a constructive manner with key decision makers and leaders in civil society to help the authorities uphold the rule of law, promote accountability regarding allegations of torture and ill-treatment, fulfill the right of reparations for victims, and to ensure that alleged perpetrators are held responsible in conformity with international law.”
“I hope that my visit can assist the Government in copying with some of the challenges it faces regarding these issues and in finding solutions that ensure the promotion of human rights and dignity of all persons.”
The UN expert is making it a priority to visit psychiatric centres and prayer camps to examine the treatment and living conditions of those with mental disabilities. The Special Rapporteur will also visit other places of detention within the criminal justice system such as police stations, interrogation centres, prisons, juvenile and women’s facilities. He will also examine allegations of abuse of other vulnerable persons, in particular women and children.