FIACAT adapts, progresses and looks to the future

2021 was marked by the persistent pandemic of Covid 19, with the resulting restrictions on meetings in person and on the possibilities for civil society to make itself heard by regional and international mechanisms for protecting human rights.

However, FIACAT continued to support its network by offering it opportunities to interact remotely with these mechanisms and to take part virtually in different sessions. It also continued with its programmes campaigning for abolition of the death penalty and against abusive pre-trial detention (PTD) in Africa. Nine years on, it is time to take stock. Six African countries have brought in laws abolishing capital punishment ((Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Chad, Sierra Leone), bringing to 23 the total in Africa. As regards PTD, 7 216 dossiers have been processed since the programme was launched and 4 762 have been the subject of a judicial decision. The results of these programmes are satisfying even though progress is less rapid than hoped and they have not led to any substantial reduction in prison overcrowding for lack of practical alternative measures. Through the transmedia project Shadow Game, run jointly with the Belgian and Italian ACATs, FIACAT is addressing the problems of migration in Europe and at its borders.

Alongside these programmes, FIACAT continues to improve its contribution to international and regional human rights mechanisms. Following the example of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and the Committee for the Prevention of Torture in Africa (CPTA) of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) have both called upon its expertise in the monitoring of prisons and mechanisms for the prevention of torture.  

In view of the legitimacy of its actions and its increasing credibility, FIACAT has started to make operational arrangements to underpin its strategic vision for 2020-2024. Thus, on the basis of surveys of the ACATs and interactive discussions led by consultants, the Abidjan International Council of 1 and 2 December 2021 decided as follows: as far as possible to link the network's geographical and thematic operations in order to achieve effective and inclusive synergies in its actions; to strengthen internal and external communications  in order to make FIACAT and its network more readily legible and visible and to achieve financial autonomy by seeking new sources of finance and thus reduce FIACAT's dependency on its financial backers. It is planned to bring in consultants to assist the International Bureau and the International Secretariat in implementing these decisions.  

Finally, we are, of course, all delighted that Germain Rukuki has been freed after four years of arbitrary imprisonment. Special thanks are due to the members of the FIACAT network who campaigned so tirelessly on his behalf.

FIACAT is honoured to have been awarded the Cassià Just prize on 9 December 2021 in Barcelona, in particular to acknowledge its fight for human rights and its ecumenical nature.

This new year will be the occasion for even greater commitment by FIACAT to the construction of a world without torture or capital punishment.



President of the FIACAT