Message from the President

At this moment, when I am happily and confidently passing on the baton of the FIACAT presidency to Paul Angaman, I am delighted at the way that the FIACAT and its network have developed over these years. Its action is effective: in 2016, out of more than 2000 identified cases of prisoners wrongly remanded in custody, 500 have been provisionally or definitively released and 250 cases are being investigated. Its members are recognised as having the ability to deliver expert advocacy in regional and international institutions, as well as in their own countries: 65% of its recommendations have been considered as a priority by the Convention Committees (CAT and CHR), 80% of the recommendations made by an ACAT have been included in their country’s periodic review.

However, despite these successes we should not forget the current threats to human rights: once more, torture has resurfaced as an allegedly useful way of combating terrorism; capital punishment has started again in some countries, there is concern for human rights defenders and civil society NGOs – for example ACAT Burundi has been purged from Burundian NGOs and its president removed from the Bujumbura Bar, and there have been infringements of the rights of asylum-seekers and refugees, mistrust of international criminal justice as instanced by two countries (Burundi and South Africa) withdrawing from the International Criminal Court, etc.

To overcome these numerous obstacles which injure the dignity of every human being, the FIACAT must resolutely continue its commitment to uphold human rights, using the means at its disposal: direct involvement of ACAT members in the field, continuing development of synergies with all actors (national, international and regional organisations, NGOs) making the struggle for abolition of torture and the death penalty a political priority.

It is in our commitment as Christians striving together every day to assert the dignity of every human being, whoever he or she is, that we find the strength to act for justice and peace, united in shared fellowship and hope.

Sylvie Bukhari-de Pontual
FIACAT President (until 31 December 2016)