Gabon Publications

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Well Oiled: Oil and Human Rights in Equatorial Guinea
Author: Suraj
Published: Jul 09, 2009

"Human Rights Watch has documented real or perceived government opponents’ experiences of abuse ranging from arbitrary arrest and detention without trial to torture, harassment, and extrajudicial killing. As documented below, Equatoguinean security forces have also kidnapped opposition politicians in exile in order for them to stand trial in Equatorial Guinea."

Preliminary Note of the Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment: Mission to the Republic of Equatorial Guinea
Author: Suraj
Published: Jan 23, 2009

"Another major problem identified by the Special Rapporteur was the allegation that some persons suspected of political crimes had been held in solitary confinement in Black Beach Prison for up to four years, without being allowed the one hour of exercise per day required by the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. Moreover, they were said to have been held in leg irons practically all the time. Prolonged solitary confinement and the permanent use of leg irons amount to inhuman treatment. In addition, the Special Rapporteur received allegations from various sources about persons held incommunicado and in secret detention, which he could not verify because of lack of access."

Prisoner Re-Entry in Cape Town – An Exploratory Study
Author: calitz
Published: Nov 07, 2008

Every month in South Africa approximately 6000 sentenced prisoners are released, some on parole and some on expiry of sentence. After serving their prison sentences it is society’s expectation that they will refrain from committing crime and be productive citizens. They are expected to find employment, rebuild relationships with their families and communities, and cease from engaging in certain activities and avoiding the risks that caused their imprisonment in the first instance. Unfortunately, it is the case that many released prisoners commit further offences and find their way back to prison, some in a remarkably short period of time while others return after several years. This study is concerned with the immediate post-release period and asked a very simple question: “What happens to people immediately after they have been released from prison?” The question is aimed at gaining a deeper and empirical understanding of what prisoner re-entry and reintegration into society mean and what the obstacles are to successful reintegration. When people’s lives have effectively been put on hold for several months or years, how do they pick up the strings where they had left them, if there are indeed strings to pick up?

The Changing Face of Life Imprisonment in South Africa.pdf
Author: hannes
Published: Nov 07, 2008

This article investigates the meaning and use of life imprisonment in South Africa in four major legal historical eras: life imprisonment at the time when the death penalty was still lawful in South Africa (including life imprisonment as early as 1906); life imprisonment in the immediate aftermath of the abolition of the death penalty (1994-1998); life imprisonment following the introduction of the minimum sentences legislation (1998-2007); and life imprisonment after December 2007, when the sentencing jurisdiction of the regional courts was extended to include life imprisonment.

An Assessment of the Impact of HIV/AIDS on Correctional System governance with Special Emphasis on Correctional Services Staff
Author: hannes
Published: Nov 07, 2008

The incidence of HIV/AIDS infection in South African prisons has been extensively documented in recent years. This research has focused variously on the geographic and demographic spread of the disease and on the rights of inmates to prophylactics and to appropriate treatment and care. In contrast, little research has been directed towards the incidence and impact of the pandemic amongst correctional officials. From this research it is evident that whilst the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) has developed a fairly coherent (albeit unevenly implemented) programme for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS amongst inmates, and notwithstanding the recent launch of a “Framework for the Implementation of a Comprehensive HIV and AIDS Programme” it has yet to develop and implement systematic measures to manage the disease amongst its own staff.

Guide to the UN Convention against Torture in South Africa
Author: Jean
Published: Jun 01, 2008

"This publication aims to provide guidance on how the UN Convention against Torture and Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) can be used as a resource in South Africa to eradicate torture and ill-treatment...This prohibition of torture imposes on states obligations which are owed to all other members of the international community; each of these obligations has a correlative right. It signals to all states and to the people under their authority that 'the prohibition of torture is an absolute value from which nobody must deviate.' At the national level it de-legitimates any law, administrative or judicial act authorising torture."

Report of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention: Mission to Equatorial Guinea
Author: Suraj
Published: Feb 18, 2008

"The report also notes the excessive power of the armed forces which effectively control the prisons, carry out arrests, and exercise military jurisdiction over civilians. Secret detentions and the abduction of opposition politicians in neighbouring countries are of particular concern. The report describes cases of people detained for merely exercising their political rights; it looks into the detention of illegal immigrants at police stations, notes the absence of effective defence rights and limitations on legal aid, refers to the physical conditions of detention as a contributing factor to the lack of adequate defence and cites the lack of an effective registration system at prisons and police stations."

Conditions of Police Cells in Namibia
Author: Jean
Published: Feb 01, 2008

This report written by University of Namibia academics discusses the distinction between police cells and holding cells, and the conditions of police cells in terms of Namibia's legal obligations.

Law, religion and human rights in Nigeria
Author: Jean
Published: Feb 01, 2008

This article was published in AHRLJ Volume 8 No 2 2008. This paper explores the relationship between law, religion and human rights in Nigeria. The level and intensity of religious strife in Nigeria justify this inquiry, whose aim should be the design of a framework that enables individuals to enjoy the freedom of religion and ensures that religious conflicts are managed in Nigeria’s multi-ethnic and multi-religious context. Almost a decade to the introduction of Islamic criminal law in the 12 northern states of Nigeria, there is no longer any doubt that religion is fundamental to the survival of Nigeria. The basic thesis of this paper is that the key to understanding the relationship between law, religion and human rights in Nigeria lies in the unacknowledged dominance of Islam and Christianity, which I characterise as de facto state religions, and the resulting neglect of other religions. It is this reality, its denial and misunderstanding of attendant constitutional obligations that define the relationship between the Nigerian state and religion.

Religion, law and human rights in post-conflict Liberia
Author: Jean
Published: Feb 01, 2008

This article was published in AHRLJ Volume 8 No 2 2008. Liberia has had a turbulent recent history, and today deals with extreme poverty, high crime, ethnic tensions, widespread impunity and corruption. In addition to this, there is a complex and contradictory relationship between law and religion, which further complicates the ongoing efforts towards peace building and reconstruction. This paper aims to highlight the fundamental question of whether certain laws and human rights — in this case, religious or cultural freedom — can or should be actively promoted by the state and by society in such a unique scenario as fragile, post-conflict Liberia. The paper first addresses this question with respect to the country's contradictory dual-justice system, highlighting the problems that arise when the weak state struggles to enforce statutory and human rights law, while much of the population still sees legitimate justice to be rooted in traditional mechanisms, such as trials by ordeal, which oppose these laws. The second section of the paper considers the extent to which all Liberians enjoy religious freedom. It is shown that, while Liberia is de facto a secular state, it is essentially de jure a Christian country. Although there are historically and presently few indications of unrest based strictly on religion, it is argued that there is underlying religious tension that makes it dangerous for the state or society to suggest any major integration of Islam into public life. Some of this tension can be attributed to the growing number of Pentecostal and charismatic churches, which are especially vocal about the encroachment of non-Christians. However, because of Liberia's fragility, it might be the case that promoting religious equality and actively eliminating the Christian bias might cause more harm than good in Liberia today.

On Colonial Laws and the Treatment of Young Female Delinquents in Senegal: The Case of Léonie Guèye
Author: Jean
Published: Nov 30, 2007

This article provides a rethinking of juvenile delinquency in colonial Senegal using gender as a critical category of analysis. It focuses on the case of Léonie Guèye, a thirteen-year-old girl sentenced three times for robbery. Acquitted in all three trials in virtue of Article 66 - as having acted without discernment - Léonie was nevertheless sent to Bambey penitentiary, a male institution. Wiener Zeitschrift für kritische Afrikastudien

Prisons in South Africa's Constitutional Democracy
Author: hannes
Published: Nov 07, 2007

Prisons serve a set of complex, mutually conflicting and hard-to-achieve goals. Prisons must house people in a humane manner but simultaneously appeal to the punitive nature of prisons — order and security must be maintained while providing an effective deterrent, and appease political opinion. It is in this “inherent policy vagueness” that stakeholders (for example, politicians, bureaucrats and civil society) must find a compromise (Boin, James and Lodge, 2005: 7). Can a constitutional democracy, such as South Africa, find an acceptable compromise, and what would “acceptable” mean under the rules of a constitutional democracy? This report investigate these questions and looks at what are the constitutional requirements for prisons as well as the threats and stumbling blocks en route to meeting these.

Jali Commission Report - Summary and Comment
Author: hannes
Published: Nov 07, 2007

The Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of Corruption, Maladministration and Violence in the Department of Correctional Services – The Jali Commission - wrote a comprehensive report that investigated various areas of the Department of Correctional Services (DCS). The Jali Commission established that the DCS had various problems that made it function in a manner that left a lot to be desired. The Jali Commission made various recommendations (114+) in its 1800+ page report. The CSPRI summarised the Jali Commission report and put in a user-friendly language for most of us who do not have time to read and comprehend the whole report and also for ease of reference.

Governance, Justice and Law and Order Sector Reform Programme: Administrative Data Collection and Analysis Report
Author: Jean
Published: May 01, 2007

This review focused on administrative data collection and analysis in support of the following four indicators: (i) percentage increase in crime detection, prosecution and conviction rates of selected crimes (ii) percentage decrease in the awaiting trial population (iii) percentage decrease in the case backlog of selected crimes and (iv) percentage of litigants receiving legal aid, disaggregated by economic status, age and gender.

Ghana Justice Sector and the Rule of Law
Author: Jean
Published: Jan 01, 2007

This discussion paper is by AfriMAP, the Open Society Initiative for West Africa, and the Institute for Democratic Governance.

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