Benin prison conditions dire

Geneva - UN experts voiced alarm on Monday at disturbing and cramped conditions in Benin detention facilities, including poor access to water and food, and urged the west African country to immediately reduce overcrowding.

After making a surprise visit there, the United Nations Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture (SPT) said Benin had made some progress since its previous visit in 2008, but warned conditions remained dire.

"Most of the detention centres we visited were overcrowded and lacked adequate staffing and other resources," Victor Madrigal Borloz, who headed the five-member SPT delegation, said in a statement.

The committee had visited four police stations, three civilian prisons and one centre for juveniles in Porto Novo, Cotonou and Abomey, all in the south of the country.

Borloz voiced particular alarm over conditions in Abomey prison, which he described as "inhumane and shocking."

"In our discussions with the government of Benin, we made it clear that to avoid extreme suffering, it is both essential and urgent to improve detainees' access to water and food, deal with unhygienic conditions and reduce overcrowding," he said.

The committee meanwhile noted that changes to Benin's penal code, including a new requirement that anyone arrested must be presented to a judicial authority within 48 hours, had led to some improvements.

The committee said it was preparing to hand over a report to the Benin government containing its "observations and recommendations on prevention of torture and ill-treatment of persons deprived of their liberty."

While the report will be submitted confidentially, SPT encouraged Benin to make the findings public.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Children between 12 and 17 can now be vaccinated against Covid-19. As a parent I am:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Relieved, it's been a long wait to this point
48% - 329 votes
A bit hesitant, and will wait to see how it goes
20% - 136 votes
Completely against my child getting the shot
32% - 218 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
14.45
+0.8%
Rand - Pound
19.96
+0.6%
Rand - Euro
16.82
+0.7%
Rand - Aus dollar
10.85
+0.3%
Rand - Yen
0.13
+0.8%
Gold
1,781.92
+0.7%
Silver
24.31
+2.7%
Palladium
2,073.50
-1.4%
Platinum
1,054.00
+1.1%
Brent Crude
85.08
+0.9%
Top 40
60,348
+0.3%
All Share
66,895
+0.2%
Resource 10
63,203
-0.1%
Industrial 25
85,486
+0.6%
Financial 15
14,008
-0.1%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE