AU Watch

Who We Are

“I don’t know about torture. I have educated myself on many things but on torture I have not known the boundary between what is torture and what isn’t torture. I know the NRA tie these people (rebels, etc.) when they catch them. They tie their hands backwards. I am now being told that is torture. It is the traditional method.”

President Yoweri Museveni

We are Africa’s leading civil society organisation dedicated to preventing torture, promoting the work of the African Commission’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture in Africa (CPTA), the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (SPT). We help bring to justice Africa torturers and provide expertise to support our partners and communities to identify perpetrators for prosecution.

We also provide expertise to assist states to reform laws, policies and practices that contribute to people being tortured, ill-treated and facing the ultimate penalty. We are relentless in the pursuit of justice for those who have endured the horrors of torture, war crimes, crimes against humanity and other severe human rights abuses. This time, there is no hiding place. We are determined to eradicate impunity in Africa. Our long arm of justice will seek you out – if you are a torturer. Time, connections, distance, danger, politics –nothing deters us in seeking justice for victims of torture.

• We campaign and advocate for the AU to adopt an Additional Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the abolition of the death penalty. We campaign for change across Africa. Together, we raise awareness and influence decision-makers about torture and its impact. We advocate for an end to torture and the death penalty.

• Torture causes long-lasting mental and physical pain. So, we rehabilitate. Through our partners, we provide care for those who have been tortured, train partners who can prevent and treat torture.We pay for specialist psychological therapy to help individuals and communities who have survived torture recover and rebuild their lives. And we provide training for professionals working with torture survivors.

• AU Watch is establishing its own rehabilitation clinics in many of its chapters for victims of torture and their family. Our counsellors, psychotherapists, doctors, care coordinators and pain management specialists help people through the long recovery journey.

• We are also involved in the process of restorative justice – a voluntary process that engages those responsible for and harmed by a criminal offence in constructive dialogue about the harm caused and what can be done to set things right.

Please click here to locate a clinic near you. We are finding innovative ways to advance human rights in Africa and build an Africa free from torture.

Our Vision

In too many places in Africa, too many people and communities suffer the indignity of being mistreated. Our vision is a 2063 Africa without torture.

We believe that the death penalty is a cruel and inhuman punishment which especially discriminates against the poorest and most disadvantaged members of society.We envision an Africa, where there is no death penalty.

Our Mission

  • Our mission is to tackle impunity, expose, prosecute and jail criminals who are engaged in the heinous act of torturing their fellow human being.
  • We raise awareness and influence decision-makers about torture and its impact. We advocate for an end to torture and the death penalty.
  • We monitor and promote the work the work of the African Commission’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture in Africa (CPTA). Through strategic advice and advocacy, we provide expertise to assist African states to reform laws, policies and practices that contribute to people being tortured, ill-treated and facing the ultimate penalty – death.
  • We ensure that persons and communities subjected to torture receive health-based rehabilitation.
  • For those facing the death penalty, we provide justice tools to address miscarriages of justice.

 

Our Values and Principles

Torture is senseless violence. Through the regional and international human rights systems, it is possible to eliminate torture and abolish the death penalty. Through our programs we aim to obtain redress, accountability and improved human rights practices.

Compassion:A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal. Compassion is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. We understand what victims go through and act together to end it.

Empowerment: Together, we create a world where we believe in our infinite potential to defeat criminals. Your only limitations are those you set upon yourself.

Resolve: In the face of unrelenting human rights violations, one quality is needed more than all – courage. It is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, we can’t win this fight.

Hope: All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honour, duty, mercy, hope. Hope that we can come out on the other side a better society keeps us going.