FIACAT is 35 years old and still going strong !


1987-2022. 35 years after its birth, the International Federation of ACATs (FIACAT) is as vigorous as ever in its pursuit of the eradication of torture and ill-treatment and the abolition of the death penalty. The ideal of a world without torture and the death penalty remains a challenge far from being met.. Thus, FIACAT and its network of 29 ACATs spread over three continents – Africa, America and Europe - are constantly readjusting their strategies and modes of action.

After two years of virtual inertia dictated by the Covid-19 pandemic, 2022 has shown ample evidence of the network’s vitality.  Nine African ACATs, supported by FIACAT, took part in the 73rd Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights organised in Banjul (Gambia), in order to promote advocacy campaigns, strengthen their capacities and hold side events. In November, Berlin (Germany) followed-up by hosting three key events in which network members were involved. Ahead of the World Congress Against the Death Penalty, 11 African ACATs took part in a training delivered by FIACAT and the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty on project management and advocacy for abolition at national, regional and international levels. Subsequently, the meeting of the European ACATs provided an opportunity for them to exchange experiences and good practices and decide on joint activities specific to their geographical location. Finally, the high point of this mission: the World Congress Against the Death Penalty. This 8th edition attracted some forty ACAT activists from almost 20 national ACATs. The joint expertise of ACATs and FIACAT has made it possible to draw attention to the death row phenomenon and the link between torture and the death penalty. As the Congress closed, ACAT Central African Republic received a prize for its enormous contribution to the vote in favour of abolition in the Central African Republic in May 2022. FIACAT further demonstrated its vitality by launching the “ACAT cafés”. Thanks to videoconferencing, the ACATs now have a democratic forum for discussions. The four meetings held so far, each focusing on a different ACAT, have been warmly welcomed by the network’s members.

Alongside its partners, FIACAT has extended its activities to cover two new topics. Over the last few years, more and more threats have been made against ACAT activists, in particular those of central Africa and the Great Lakes regions. It has thus undertaken to protect human rights defenders through the Initiative for Human Rights Defenders throughout the world” a project implemented by the Human Rights Platform in some ten countries including Madagascar and Togo, where the  ACATs will be closely involved. The Federation has also joined the campaign for the decriminalisation of minor offences in Africa, a cause of endemic prison overcrowding on the continent.

FIACAT has successfully continued its work of representation, advocacy and support for the ACATs in projects such as the fight against abusive pre-trial detention. It has also responded to numerous requests, thus enhancing its visibility and its credibility thanks to the cooperation between its bureau and its secretariat. 

After 35 years of existence, the vitality of FIACAT and its network give cause for hope in faith and charity!