Nigeria’s Dr Uju Agomoh elected member of United Nations Committee on Prevention of Torture

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A Press Statement issued in Abuja by a Media Advisor to PRAWA, Abdulkadir Ahmed Ibrahim, FNGE, said the SPT mandates are to monitor conditions in detention and treatment of persons deprived of their liberty through country visits; and to advise on OPCAT implementation, in particular support the establishing and functioning of National Preventive Mechanisms.”

*Photo: Dr Uju Agomoh

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The Executive Director of Prisoners’ Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA), Dr Uju Agomoh, has been elected a member of the United Nations Sub Committee on Prevention of Torture (UN SPT). The election was held on 20th October, 2022, at Geneva.

The UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) is the international body established by the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture, OPCAT. 

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The Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) is an international agreement aimed at preventing torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. OPCAT was adopted in 2002 and entered into force in 2006.

The United Nations Sub Committee on Prevention of Torture (UN-SPT) consists of 25 independent experts with a preventive mandate focused on a proactive approach to preventing torture and ill treatment.

A Press Statement issued in Abuja by a Media Advisor to PRAWA, Abdulkadir Ahmed Ibrahim, FNGE, said the SPT mandates are to monitor conditions in detention and treatment of persons deprived of their liberty through country visits; and to advise on OPCAT implementation, in particular support the establishing and functioning of National Preventive Mechanisms.

The Statement explained that Dr Uju Agomoh is the Founder and Director of PRAWA, a Nigerian civil society organisation which promotes human rights for people in prison and helps those who’ve survived prison to successfully integrate into the community. 

PRAWA has functional and operational offices in Lagos, Kano, Enugu and its headquarters in Abuja.

Dr Uju Agomoh holds degrees in Law, Criminology, and Psychology which makes her strongly positioned to contribute to the work of the SPT through a holistic and multidisciplinary approach.

Over the past 20 years, Dr Agomoh has held key positions in global, regional and national institutions working to prevent torture through detention monitoring, security sector reform and support to survivors of torture. 

These include serving on the Executive Committee of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT); the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT); Global SOS-Torture Covid 19 Crisis Action Group; and the Independent Investigation Panel of Inquiry on the Nigeria Police Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS).

Dr Uju Agomoh has personally carried out over 1,000 prison monitoring visits covering about 150 prisons in 32 countries providing her with extensive expertise in detention monitoring methodologies and engagement with detention authorities and detainees.

Dr Agomoh has National and International experiences on Torture prevention. She was:

• Member – Independent Investigation Panel of Inquiry on Nigeria Police Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) alleged human rights violation (2020 – 2022);

• Council Member of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission and the Special Rapporteur on Police, Prisons and Centers of Detention (2001 – 2008);

• Co-Chair- Development Law Group (DLG) of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Section on Public Interest and Development Law (2021 – 2023);

• Co-lead in the development of the harmonized curriculum for security agencies training institutions in Nigeria including on Human Rights, Rule of Law, and Civil -Military Relations;

• Led the development of National Legal Aid Strategy of Nigeria 2016-2022;

She has also conducted visits to places of detention in more than 32 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America; 

She is a Fellow, International Penal and Penitentiary Foundation (IPPF) with a specific focus on overuse of imprisonment and fairness and consistency in administrative and judicial decisions (2017 to present); 

An Expert, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC), on development of guidelines on rehabilitation of prisoners (2017); 

A Visiting Expert on treatment of women prisoners, United Nations Asia and Far East (UNAFEI) (2015) ; 

Member, Executive Committee (Representing Sub Saharan Africa), International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) (2012-2016); 

Member- World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) Global SOS-Torture Covid 19 Crisis Action Group (September 2021 – December 2022).

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