Committee Against Torture: Sierra Leone

CAT session 052 (2014)

(20 June 2014, CAT/C/SLE/CO/1, Concluding observations on initial report, paras. 27 and 30)

"The Committee is highly concerned at information indicating that cases of violence and deaths in custody have not been sufficiently investigated, including the death in custody of Lamin Kamara, allegedly as a consequence of torture. The Committee is also concerned at the alleged use of corporal punishment and solitary confinement for prisoners, as permitted by the Prison Ordinance Act of 1960 and the Prison Rules of 1961, as well as reduction in diet and the use of handcuffs and other means of restraint as a punishment (arts. 2, 11 and 16).

The State party should:

a) ensure that the Correctional Services Bill, aimed at replacing the Prison Ordinance Act of 1960 and the Prison Rules of 1961, is promptly adopted and complies with the commitment taken by the State delegation to eliminate corporal punishment and solitary confinement....

"While acknowledging that the current Correctional Services Bill includes the prohibition of corporal punishment in prisons and section 33 of the Child Rights Act 2007 prohibits torture and inhuman and degrading treatment of children, the Committee is concerned that corporal punishment has not yet been explicitly prohibited in the Child Rights Act or any other act in force and is culturally entrenched and lawful in all settings, including the home, schools, day care, alternative care settings and in penal institutions (art. 16).

The Committee reminds the State party of the commitment it made during the dialogue with the Committee and recommends that it take the necessary legislative measures to explicitly prohibit corporal punishment in all settings, conduct public awareness-raising campaigns about its harmful effects, and promote positive nonviolent forms of discipline as an alternative to corporal punishment."

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