News24

SA 'failing on torture reporting'

2010-11-01 16:42

Cape Town - SA was failing in its international obligations to report on torture and other ill treatment in police cells and prisons, the Community Law Centre said on Monday.

The centre, attached to the University of the Western Cape, said South Africa ratified the United Nations' Convention Against Torture in 1998.

However it had not yet made torture a criminal offence under South African law. The centre said South Africa had submitted its initial report to the UN Committee Against Torture five years late, in June 2005.

The committee had considered the report in November 2006, then asked for urgent feedback on a number of issues by November 2007 and submission of a second periodic report by December 31 2009, the centre said.

South Africa had not submitted either the feedback or the periodic report.

"We are worried by South Africa's tardy response and lack of commitment to comply with its obligations under international human rights law," said Lukas Muntingh, co-ordinator of the centre's civil society prison reform initiative.

"We must remember that it was indeed the death of Steve Biko under torture that moved the UN General Assembly in 1984 to adopt the UN Convention against Torture.

"South Africa has a special duty to prevent and eradicate all forms of torture and ill treatment."