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recognized; (b) some remedy, whether formal or informal, exists; (c) there is no fear of reprisal.

3. Whether the law is clear in its provisions and certain in its application. If a high degree of discretion is allowed to security forces as to whom they arrest, and how prisoners are treated, citizens will not know what activities are proscribed and what are legal. Where the law is known, some civil rights activity may be possible even though the range of legally proscribed actions is very great. Where police or security forces act arbitrarily, or enjoy wide discretion (as under S.6, of the South African Terrorism Act), citizens will fear that actions to protest abuse of power may make them victims of those abuses.

4. Whether there exists a strong, independent judiciary.-In these instances, there will be lawyers whose work gives them first hand knowledge of such basic violations as arbitrary arrests, torture, denial of due process; their existence will in turn encourage victims to report violations and seek a remedy in law.

5. Whether there erist nongovernmental organizations which concern themselves with human rights questions.-- Throughout Latin America, in Africa and Asia, the churches have played this role in recent years; much of our knowledge about Chile or Argentina, comes directly or indirectly from such church groups as the Comite Pro Paz or the Permanent Assembly. They will often act as the intermediary between poor or repressed groups and the outside world. In Zimbabwe, the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace has reported the systematic use of torture; in Angola and Mozambique church groups were important sources of information during the colonial period.

6. Whether the press can report freely on human rights matters.--Censorship not only has the obvious disadvantage of erasing a public record on human rights issues, but over a long period it may reinforce a political climate in which public discussion of human rights questions is itself seen as an act dissent or even subversion.

7. Whether the common language is one casily understood by foreigneme, 80 that visitors can communicate with those whom they meet. It is easier for most journalist to communicate with an English or French speaking community than say, with Swahili or Amharic speakers. In practice this may limit their access to the elite of the society, who may speak English, live in the capital, and be out of touch with other ethnic groups or distant provinces. The need to rely on an interpreter not only complicates communication, but also discourages that basis of trust between two people which is essential if one is to tell the other facts which could endanger his safety.

8. Whether there exists a strong refugee or expatriate community, which has access to information about prisoners at home and to human rights organizations abroad; and whose members can travel freely.

9. Whether there exists legislation which could criminalize the act of human rights reporting.Camerounian law empowers the courts to impose a mandatory 5 year sentence on any person who "initiates or spreads any false statement, rumor or report ... likely to bring any public authority into disrepute, contempt or ridicule". (Ordennance 62-OF/18 of 1962). The South African Prisons Act is similarlv deterrent.

10. Whether there exists a high level of fear among the population.This is perhaps the most powerful obstacle in the way of accurate information collection. It will be the cumulative result of these other factors. Where they exist and particularly where there is a belief that to report human rights violations will lead to their repetition, it is understandable that fear will inhibit the type of reporting on which accurate outside assessment can be based. These factors are not specific to Africa : others could be added for example, poor communications which make it difficult for information from one province to reach the capital; tribal or communal divisions which also inhibit information flow, etc.

This is a rudimentary attempt to indicate the peculiar problems which face those who monitor human rights violations. Because human rights organizations are operational, and tend to channel their resources towards action rather than research, the special nature of human rights reporting is rarely considered and little understood. This situation may be expected to change as national violations became the legitimate objects of international concern, and as supranatural mechanisms are created to provide remedies. 1.c. International Human Rights Protection

The Subcommittee has also asked for comment on recent steps towards the establishment of a supra-regional structure in Africa to protect human rights. This statement has so far been concerned with fundamental violations of rights. It presents a bleak and depressing picture. However, African concern about human rights is evident in many places. A number of countries such as Botswana

and Gambia have good domestic records, and even in those states-for example Nigeria—which from time to time have experienced major problems of political instability and responded with significant human rights violations, there has also been a recognition of the need to respect human rights.

Recently, a number of significant initiatives have been taken at the international level to promote the establishment of effective mechanism to resolve human rights problems within Africa. In August 1978, the African Bar Association drew up a Declaration of Human rights for presentation to the Organization of African Unity, and in September 1978-a call for the establishment of a regional commission of human rights for Africa was made at a seminar in Dakar, Senegal, attended by lawyers from French speaking African countries. In May this year, the need for more effective methods of protecting refugees in Africa was recognized by the holding of an international conference in Arusha, Tanzania. These initiatives certainly contributed to the adoption of a resolution calling for the preparation of an African Charter of Human Rights at the 0.A.U. summit in July 1979. Two months later in September, a U.N. sponsored Seminar in Monrovia discussed a draft proposal for the establishment of an African human rights commission.

While these initiatives were under way, a significant development occurred when representatives of five African countries participated in an inquiry into the killing of children in the Central African Empire. Appointed at the May 1979 summit conference of Franco-African heads of state, the five members of the inquiry team visited the Central African Empire and subsequently published a report which verified the killings and severely criticized the Government. This is the first report about human rights problems by African jurists appointed by African heads of state. It has created a precedent which we hope will be repeated on later occasion where African governments are incriminated in gross human rights violations.

While these initiatives have created a momentum within Africa they must also be set within a wider context. The Morovia discussion took U.N. standards as its starting point; all African states are participants in the United Nations human hights system; all have subscribed, to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; all voted for the U.N. Declaration Against Torture in 1975, and 29 have ratified U.N. Refugee Convention and Protocol. Eight states have acceded to the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights, and Zaire has ratified the Optional Protocol which recognizes the right of individuals to seek redress internationally in cases where violations such as torture have taken place at the domestic level. Whether or not effective regional machinery is established soon, countries such as Guinea, Kenya, Tanzania and Mali have already accepted both the principle of international accountability and the obligation to report annually to the U.N. Human Rights Committee on both law and practice in their countries. The standards set in the Universal Declaration are not seen as alien to African traditions. It is to be hoped that one effect of recent revelations of atrocities in the Central African Empire, Equatorial Guinea and Uganda on the one hand, and of the debate on original structures on the other, will be to encourage more states to ratify existing U.N. instruments.

3

List OF SIGNATURES, RATIFICATIONS, ACCESSIONS, ETC. BY AFRICAN STATES TO THE

HUMAN RIGHTS INTERNATIONAL INSTRUMENTS 1
(1) International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights :

Gambia ?
Guinea
Kenya
Liberia
Madagascar
Mali
Mauritius
Rwanda
Senegal
Tanzania

Zaire 1 “Human Rights International Instruments; Signatures, Ratifications, Accessions, etc., January 1, 1979." United Nations.

2x Ratification, accession, notification of succession, acceptance or definitive signature. is Signature not yet followed by ratification.

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(2) International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights:

Guinea Kenya Liberia Madagascar Mali Mauritius Rwanda Senegal Tanzania

Zaire (3) Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political

Rights : Guinea Madagascar Mauritius

Zaire
(4) Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of

Genocide :
Ethiopia
Gambia
Ghana
Lesotho
Liberia
Mali
Rwanda
Upper Volta---.

Zaire
(5) Convention relating to the Status of Refugees :

Benin
Botswana
Burundi
Cameroon
Central African Republic-
Congo
Djibouti
Ethiopia
Gabon
Gambia
Ghana
Guinea
Guinea-Bissau
Ivory Coast.
Kenya
Liberia
Madagascar
Mali
Niger
Nigeria
Sao Tome and Principe-
Senegal
Somalia
Sudan
Tanzania
Togo
Uganda
Zaire
Zambia

X

X

X

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X

х

X

X X х х

X

X
X

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X

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X

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X

X

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X

X

X

X

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(6) Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees :

Benin
Botswana
Burundi
Cameroon
Central African Republic.-
Congo
Djibouti
Ethiopia
Gabon
Gambia
Ghana
Guinea
Guinea-Bissau
Ivory Coast
Mali
Niger
Nigeria
Sao Tome and Principe---
Senegal
Somalia
Sudan

X
Swaziland
Tanzania
Togo
Uganda
Zaire

Zambia
Yusuf Osman Samantar, Somalia

Yusuf Osman Samantar, a former parliamentarian and secretary general of the Somali Democratic Union has been a political prisoner in Somalia since 1976.

Mr. Samantar, aged 47, is in indefinite detention without trial under Somalia's Preventive Detention Act. Under the act, detention orders are signed by the president and no independent or regular system of reviewing such orders exists.

Yusuf Osman Samantar (know in Somalia by his nickname "Barde Ad”) is the best known socialist politician detained in Somalia. A political science graduate of the University of Rome, he was prominent in Somali politics of the 1950's and 1960's. He wrote political articles in the Arabic press and had connections with the African and international trade union movement.

Mr. Samantar has been detained on at least three previous occasions following the military takeover in 1969 when the constitution was suspended and all political parties banned. The new constitution of the Somali Democratic Republic, accepted by referendum on 25 August 1979, declares Somalia to be a socialist state under the leadership of the only legal political party, the Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party, of which President Siyad Barre is Secretary General. The adoption of the new constitution, however, has not led to the release of the hundreds of political prisoners in Somalia.

Yusuf Osman Samantar is detained in a remote prison near the Kenyan border at Labatan Jirow. Prisoners are held in permanent solitary confinement in small cells and are denied visits from their families. Correspondence is rarely permitted and it is reported that prisoners are not allowed books to read, not even the Koran. They are taken into the fresh air for only a short period each day. Their diet is poor. Prisoners sleep on wooden beds without mattresses. Medical attention is limited to treatment by a medical orderly. Detainees generally suffer from hypertension, eye problems, difficulty in breathing, and the debilitating effects of poor nutrition and lack of physical exercise.

Yusuf Osman Samantar is married and has five children.

DECLARATION ON THE PROTECTION OF ALL PERSONS FROM BEING SUBJECTED TO TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL INHUMAN OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT

(Adopted unanimously by United Nations General Assembly resolution 3452

(XXX) of 9 December 1975.)

Article 1 1. For the purpose of this Declaration, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted by or at the instigation of a public official on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or confession, punishing him for an act he has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating him or other persons. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to, lawful sanctions to the extent consistent with the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.

2. Torture constitutes an aggravated and deliberate form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 2 Any act or torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment is an offence to human dignity and shall be condemned as a denial of the purposes of the Charter of the United Nations and as a violation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Article 3 No state may permit or tolerate torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Exceptional circumstances such as a state of war or a threat of war, internal politicui instability or any other public emergency may not be invoked as a justification of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 4 Each State shall, in accordance with the provisions of this Declaration, take effective measures to prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment from being practised within its jurisdiction.

Article 5 The training of law enforcement personnel and of other public officials who may be responsible for persons deprived of their liberty shall ensure that full account is taken of the prohibition against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. This prohibition shall also, where appropriate, be included in such general rules or instructions as are issued in regard to the duties and functions of anyone who may be involved in the custody or treatment of such persons.

Article 6 Each State shall keep under systematic review interrogation methods and practices as well as arrangements for the custody and treatment of persons deprived of their liberty in its territory, with a view to preventing any cases of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article ry

Each State shall ensure that all acts of torture as defined in article 1 are offences under its criminal law. The same shall apply in regard to acts which constitute participation in, complicity in, incitement to or an attempt to commit torture.

Article 8

Any person who alleges that he has been subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment by or at the instigation of a public official shall have the right to complain to, and to have his case impartially examined by, the competent authorities of the State concerned.

Article 9

Wherever there is reasonable ground to believe that an act of torture as defined in article 1 has been committed, the competent authorities of the State concerned shall promptly proceed to an impartial investigation even if there has been no formal complaint.

Article 10 If an investigation under article 8 or article 9 establishes that an act of torture as defined in article 1 appears to have been committed, criminal proceedings shall be instituted against the alleged offender or offenders in accordance with

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