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FIACAT’s follow up mission to Benin Benin, November 2008

November 2008

Monitoring mission on the recommendations of the United Nations Committee against Torture concerning Benin
Cotonou and Porto Novo, 17 21 November 2008

One year after the United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT) evaluated the human rights situation in Benin, in November 2007, FIACAT [1] and the OMCT [2], in partnership with ACAT Benin [3], ESAM [4] and AFJB [5], conducted a monitoring mission on the recommendations of that Committee in Cotonou and Porto Novo, Benin, from 17 to 21 November 2008. The aim of the mission was to assess the efforts made by the Benin Government to implement those recommendations.

Rapport initial du Togo {PDF} Benin has been a party signatory to the United Nations Convention against Torture since 12 March 1992. Under Article 19 of that Convention, it is required to present initial and periodic reports on the implementation of the provisions of the Convention in its internal legislation. It presented its initial report to the Committee in April 2005, 8 years late.

The Committee Against Torture evaluated that report at its 39th session, in November 2007. Several non-governmental organisations, including FIACAT and the OMCT, presented alternative reports to help the Committee’s experts in their work.

The recommendations adopted by the Committee on the basis of that evaluation broadly reflect the concerns of Beninese civil society set out in the alternative reports by FIACAT and the OMCT. It was for that reason that the two organisations conducted a monitoring mission on the recommendations, one year after their adoption, to assess the situation regarding their main areas of concern.

In that connection, FIACAT and the OMCT met:

- Ms Hélène KEKE AHOLOU, President of the Committee on Laws of the National Assembly;

- Mr Isaac FAYOMI, Director for Legislation of the National Assembly and member of the National Human Rights Commission;

- Mr Prudent Victor TOPANOU, Minister, Keeper of the Seals;

- Mr Georges Constant AMOUSSOU, Chief Public Prosecutor at the Benin Court of Appeal;

- Ms Veerle SMET and Mr Yvan VOEVODSKY, programme managers, European Commission delegation in Benin;

- Marie-Giselle ZINKPE of the Human Rights Directorate, responsible for human rights promotion and dissemination;

- Monsignor Marcel AGBOTON, Archbishop of Cotonou;

- Ms Clotilde MEDEGAN NOUGBODE, President of the High Court of Justice;

These meetings provided the opportunity to take stock of developments in the situation in Benin in the following areas;
- the Criminal Code;
- prison conditions;
- abolition of the death penalty;
- women’s rights;
- children’s rights.

The mission enabled progress to be made on certain matters that FIACAT and ACAT Benin viewed as priorities, such as the criminalisation of torture under Beninese criminal law. It also allowed ACAT Benin to obtain temporary six month, renewable, authorisation to visit all the prisons and detention centres in Benin. The Benin Minister of Justice proposed that members of ACAT Benin sit on the National Human Rights Commission so that they could express any concerns on a regular basis.


[1] International Federation of ACAT.

[2] World Organisation Against Torture.

[3] Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture in Benin.

[4] Solidarity for Children in Africa and the World.

[5] Association of women lawyers in Benin.

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