Geneva, Cotonou, 15 March 2013 – Yesterday, the UN Human Rights Council examined the report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review - Benin during the 22nd Council session. Benin accepted the majority of its recommendations. FIACAT and ACAT Benin will monitor the implementation of these commitments closely.
During the review of the UPR Working Group’s report, the Beninese delegation reminded the Council that, during the course of the November 2012 review, Benin had accepted 123 of the 129 recommendations from Human Rights Council Member States.
On that occasion, FIACAT and ACAT Benin had presented an alternative report highlighting the human rights situation in Benin. This report dealt specifically with prison conditions in Benin, access to justice, respect for time limits on police custody and preventive detention and the criminalisation of torture in the Penal Code. The Beninese Government had accepted the core recommendations raised in the report from FIACAT and ACAT Benin.
The Beninese delegation confirmed that numerous reforms had been implemented, such as the construction of new prisons and the establishment of new courts. The latter had been provided with modern equipment and infrastructure. The delegation added that the Government had established a commission tasked with finding solutions to the problem of prison overcrowding. The delegation emphasised that the results of the work carried out by the commission had led to a noticeable reduction in overcrowding in detention centres.
In addition, our associations welcome the fact that the long history of advocacy by ACAT Benin and FIACAT has, since the last review, resulted in the ratification by Benin of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty, which was one of our recommendations. We are also delighted that draft resolutions reforming national law in this area have been filed with the National Assembly.
We welcome the willingness expressed to the Council by the Government to be supported by civil society in implementing the commitments that have been made, and we remind them that our organsations are available as a source of support in this work.