Overuse of pre-trial detention should be reduced as much as possible

In a three day working session held in Kigali Rwanda from May 19th to May 21st, 2015, in collaboration with Rwanda Government through National Commission for Human Rights of Rwanda, European Union, Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) and Network of African National Human Rights Institutions (NANHRI), National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) from around Africa are convening a training workshop on the theme “Reducing the Overuse of Pre-Trial Detention”.

In her opening remarks, the Rwanda National Human Rights Commission Chairperson, Mrs. NIRERE Madeleine, after welcoming all participants to that working session that seek to enhance capacity of African Human Rights Institutions, to understand the concept of pre-trial detention and ways of torture and all ill-treatments, she said that pre-trial detention should be reduced as much as possible so as to avoid the abuses of human rights, especially those relating to the conditions of detention in all places of detention. The Chairperson reminded that the Commission has a special mission of educating and sensitizing the population on matters relating to human rights; and she added that all institutions should rely on different laws that will prevent them from making mistakes. Talking to the mandate as National Human Rights Institutions, the Chairperson said that they have a special mission to carry out visits to custodial places with purpose of inspecting whether the rights of detainees are respected and argue relevant authorities to address identified cases of human rights violations of detainees.  
She wished the session would be an occasion of sharing experiences and best practices from African Human Rights Institutions on the role they should play in influencing the policy and legal framework relating to pre-trial detention to perform their duties.
The Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Mr. Busingye Johnston who opened officially the working session, he thanked the Association of Prevention of Torture for contributing to the international law framework on freedom from torture through decades of research and practical engagement with the concerned stakeholders. He also acknowledged the important contribution of the Network of African National Human Rights Institutions to bringing African perspectives together to find solutions to all common challenges that are contextually relevant. Mr. Busingye briefly said that the task of Human Rights Institutions and Civil Society is to keep watch and help Governments to fulfill their mandates regarding human rights respect. He wished the recommendations that will be made could be implemented practically and improve the lives of people, not those in pre-trial detention but everyone in the hands of correctional services.
The working session on “Reducing overuse of Pre-Trial Detention” brought together 25 countries from around Africa.