Committee Against Torture, session 62 (2017)
RECOMMENDATIONS/OBSERVATIONS ON CORPORAL PUNISHMENT IN THE COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE'S CONCLUDING OBSERVATIONS TO STATES EXAMINED IN SESSION 62 (6 NOVEMBER - 6 DECEMBER 2017)
([November 2017], CAT/C/RWA/CO/2 Advance unedited version, Concluding observations on second report, paras. 28 and 29)
“The Committee takes note that the Instructions of the Commissioner General of Prisons of 2015 establish procedures for handling acts of serious misconduct inside prisons and limit the imposition of solitary confinement to a maximum period of 15 days. It is, however, concerned by reports indicating that prison staff often resorts to beatings as a form of punishment and that solitary confinement is frequently imposed for up to 30 days (arts. 11 and 16).
“The State party should monitor disciplinary practices inside prisons and ensure that they are in line with international standards, especially rules 36 to 46 of the Nelson Mandela Rules. In particular, it should ensure that:
(a) Corporal punishment is strictly prohibited;
(b) Solitary confinement is only used as a last resort, for as short a time as possible and never for periods in excess of 15 consecutive days, and subject to strict judicial oversight and control;
(c) Due process rights are always observed in disciplinary proceedings against detainees;
(d) Any official who fails to respect these rules is subjected to the appropriate criminal and/or disciplinary sanctions.”
(15 December 2017, CAT/C/TLS/CO/1, Concluding observations on initial report, paras. 6, 22, 23, 40 and 41)
“The Committee commends the State party’s initiatives to amend its policies and procedures in order to afford greater protection of human rights and to apply the Convention, in particular: …
(b) The adoption of the national action plan for children’s rights (2016–2020), which calls for the issue of corporal punishment to be addressed”
“… The Committee regrets that the delegation did not provide information regarding the Committee’s concern at reports that all new prisoners are subjected not only to solitary confinement for several days, but also to regular beatings and/or degrading treatment by prison staff as a form of initiation (arts. 2, 11 and 16).
“The State party should:
(a) Undertake an independent investigation into allegations that new prisoners are routinely beaten by prison staff within the first days of arrival at all of the State party’s detention facilities and ensure that allegations of torture or ill-treatment revealed by that investigation result in the prosecution and punishment of perpetrators, as well as disciplinary sanctions where warranted;
(b) Bring its legislation and practice into line with international standards, particularly rules 43–46 of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules), which state, inter alia, that practices such as placement of a prisoner in a dark cell and corporal punishment shall be prohibited in all circumstances; that solitary confinement should be used only in exceptional cases as a last resort, for as short a time as possible and subject to independent review, and only pursuant to authorization by a competent authority; that solitary confinement shall not be imposed by virtue of a prisoner’s sentence; and that the use of solitary confinement and similar measures in cases involving women and children is prohibited;
(c) Ensure that high-level officials communicate to all employees of the prison service that the infliction of corporal punishment on prisoners amounts to torture or ill-treatment, will not be tolerated and will result in disciplinary or criminal penalties against perpetrators and superiors who order, instigate, or consent or acquiesce to such practices.”
“While noting that the Ministry of Education has adopted a zero-tolerance policy on violence against children in educational settings, the Committee is concerned by the fact that corporal punishment of children in the home, school and alternative care and day-care settings is not yet explicitly prohibited under national law and that it remains widespread (arts. 2 and 16).
“The State party should amend and/or enact legislation so as to explicitly and clearly prohibit corporal punishment in all settings and take the measures necessary to prevent such punishment, including through strict enforcement of the Ministry of Education’s guidelines on classroom discipline. It should encourage non-violent forms of discipline as alternatives to corporal punishment and conduct public information campaigns to raise awareness about the harmful effects of such punishment.”