Safeguarding the human rights of imprisoned terrorism suspects in Burkina Faso

In Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, PAX supports the monitoring of the human rights situation of imprisoned terrorism suspects. The project addresses abuses in the prison system that are a contributing factor to radicalization in the long run.


Counterterrorism operations in Burkina Faso have resulted in overcrowding prisons in the country. The Prison de Haute Sécurité (PHS) in Ouagadougou houses over one thousand detainees, more than double its maximum capacity. Abject conditions with regards to the health, sanitation and legal situation of inmates constitute a fertile ground for radicalization.

Access to justice
PAX’ partner organization CIFDHA, a youth-led human rights organization, monitors the situation of detainees in Ouagadougou’s high security prison. Most inmates spend long, uncertain periods without seeing a judge. The government of Burkina Faso has erected structural barriers to access to justice for terrorism suspects. The penal code provides for the indefinite prolongation of the provisional detention period and erases the state’s obligation to ensure defendants have a lawyer. PAX and CIFDHA engage in lobby and advocacy towards ministries, members of the National Assembly and prison authorities to improve the fate of detainees.

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