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UN expert reports widespread and systematic torture

The use of torture by Cameroonian law enforcement officials is “widespread and systematic” according to an expert of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

In a report just released ahead of the next session of the commission in March Nigel Rodley, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, said he reached his conclusion after meeting last May “people who still showed signs of what could only have been recent physical torture, as well as many others whose testimonies convincingly alleged torture at the time of the first arrest”.

“Torture is condoned if not encouraged at the level of the heads of the places of detention where it takes place,” Rodley said. He added that if the political leadership were unaware of the use of torture in prisons “it can only be because of a lack of will to know”.

Young and old people were subjected to torture, Rodley said. He also criticised “appalling overcrowding” in detention centres.

However, Rodley said that the authorities appeared to be trying to address the problem, following the recent adoption of penal measures criminalising torture and the granting of permission to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to visit detention centres.

Amnesty International (AI), which has repeatedly called for allegations of torture in Cameroon to be investigated, said Rodley’s visit was a “major initiative in further highlighting the extent and frequency of torture and ill-treatment in Cameroon”, in a news release issued on Wednesday.

“The shocking information provided in the Special Rapporteur’s report cannot be ignored or dismissed by the Cameroon government,” AI said. “It must respond by taking decisive and immediate action to end torture.”

News release available at

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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