In Central African Republic, the government adopted a strategy for the demilitarisation of the penitentiary system, at the initiative of Penal Reform International (PRI) and with the support of the United Nations peacekeeping mission (MINUSCA).
As part of the implementation of the national strategy for the demilitarization of CAR’s penitentiary system, an important place is given to the mobilization and engagement of the civil society to support reform efforts. PRI has been leading the establishment of a civil society platform.
On 11 February 2020, eight Central African non-governmental organisations have established the Plateforme d’appui aux réformes du système pénitentiaire en République centrafricaine (PARSP-RCA):
- Action des Chrétiens pour l’Abolition de la Torture et de la Peine de Mort en RCA (ACAT-RCA);
- Association des Femmes Juristes en Centrafrique (AFJC);
- Centre d’Accès au Droit et à la Justice (CADJ);
- Coordination des Organisations des Musulmans de Centrafrique (COMUC);
- Kalangba Ti Siriri;
- Ligue Centrafricaine des Droits de l’Homme (LCDH);
- Planète femmes;
- Réseau des Journalistes pour les Droits de l’Homme (RJDH).
Plateforme ONGs RCA, réunion du 11 février 2020
It has four main objectives:
- Contribute to raising public awareness, nationally and internationally, in order to mobilise resources and means necessary for the implementation of the national demilitarisation strategy;
- Contribute to the follow-up of the commitments made by the government in relation to this strategy;
- Conduct advocacy and lobbying activities to support the reform of the penitentiary system;
- Promote and defend human rights of individuals in detention and contribute to prevent torture and ill-treatment in places of detention, including through increasing public monitoring of places of detention.
A national coordination, the steering and coordinating body of the platform, was set up during this workshop and consists of 7 people.
‘The creation of this platform is an important step in the appropriation of prison reforms by national actors and is likely to positively impact the government’s accountability in the implementation of its commitments’, commented Florian Irminger, Executive Director of Penal Reform International. ‘PRI will continue to support this platform, in order to ensure that it works towards the effective achievement of the objectives it has set itself, thanks to PRI’s presence in Bangui’.
In this spirit, in 2020 a national conference on penal reform will be hosted in Bangui, which will be an opportunity for national and international actors to present concrete and practically steps taken towards the implementation of the national demilitarisation strategy.