Human Rights: ACHPR 54th Session ends in Banjul with renewed commitment from NGOs

6 Nov
Panel on Freedom of Expression and Protection of Journalists' Safety at the 54th Ordinary Session of the ACHPR  (Photo Credit: Facebook/Omar Faruk Osman)

Panel on Freedom of Expression and Protection of Journalists’ Safety at the 54th Ordinary Session of the ACHPR (Photo Credit: Facebook/Omar Faruk Osman)

By Modou S. Joof

The 54th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, ACHPR, has ended on November 5 in Banjul, The Gambia with renewed commitment to promote human rights in Africa.

Newly appointed Chairperson of the ACHPR, Kayitesi Zainabo Sylvie, says the October 22 – November 5 Session culminated in human rights NGOs renewing their commitment “to promote human rights in African for the benefit of all citizens to enjoy basic human rights.”

Generally, the human rights situation in Africa has seen massive violations with impunity for the last 50 years, according to rights groups.

A coalition of African Human Rights Defenders, AHRDs, had said the ACHPR should go beyond mere condemnation [of human rights violations in Africa].

They encourage the Commission to take concrete steps to prevent and ensure redress for reprisals by designating a focal point to receive information, and to monitor and follow up on [rights violation] cases.

On Tuesday, Commissioner Sylvie urge stakeholders [human rights defenders, NGOs and national human rights institutions] to further strengthen their effort in the promotion of human rights in Africa.

“We have now come to the close of another round of the most important stakeholders’ gathering on human rights on the continent,” said Sylvie, a former vice chairperson of the African Commission.

She said some of the critical issues that have emanated from their deliberations are the positive gains that have been made in the democratic processes in State Parties [to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, ACHPR] that have held peaceful elections this year.

However, she said human rights groups also “express concerns about the disheartening situations of gross of human rights violations in the State Parties” who are in situations of internal conflicts, civil wars and those who continue to experienced attacks by terrorist groups.

Sylvie added that their discussion have reminded them of the “serious shortcomings” that exist in governance and the management of State resources in many African countries.

This, she said, fails to address poverty which results to the millions of African migrants to undertake perilous journey.

Mama Fatima Singhateh, Gambia’s Justice Minister, said the Government of The Gambia is ever ready to support the ACHPR in fulfilling their mandate.

“I hope during this Session all the issues discuss will be given due consideration for the benefit of Africans,” she said.

She called on African governments to continue their efforts in improving the living condition of their citizens to avoid the loss of valuable lives in high seas and deserts.

Justice Singhateh said it is important that the outcome of this Session will not only be in papers, but will be practicable for the benefit of all Africans.

Participants at the 54th ACHPR Session were drawn from 42 NGOs that have observer status with the African Commission, 6 national human rights institutions, and intergovernmental and international organizations.


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