African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR)

The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights requires states which have ratified it to ensure equal protection of the law (article 3), respect for personal integrity (article 4), respect for human dignity (article 5) and protection from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment and treatment (article 5) for all people.

In a 2003 decision on a complaint that the sentencing of eight students in Sudan to between 25 and 40 lashes, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which interprets the Charter, found that legislation permitting flogging violated article 5 of the Charter. The Commission held that “[t]here is no right for individuals, and particularly the government of a country to apply physical violence to individuals for offences. Such a right would be tantamount to sanctioning State sponsored torture under the Charter and contrary to the very nature of this human rights treaty.” It requested that the government of Sudan amend the criminal law in question and abolish the penalty of lashes (Curtis Francis Doebber v. Sudan, 236/2000). 

In 2020, Sudan enacted the Miscellaneous Amendments Law 2020 which amends the Criminal Code 1991 to repeal whipping and flogging by way of discipline and as a sentence for crime. The new law replaces whipping with probation and community service (article 47(b)). Corporal punishment is therefore unlawful in penal institutions and as a sentence for crime.


Further information