Resolution on Nigeria

The Forum on the participation of the NGOs in the 35th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights and the 9th Human Rights Book Fair held at the Kairaba Beach Hotel in Banjul, The Gambia from May 18 – 20 2004,

Considering the recent ethnic religious violence in Yelwa Plateau State of Nigeria in May 2004 which resulted in the killings of more than 600 persons and the reprisal killings in Kano State so soon thereafter which has caused forced displacement of around 750 persons and threatening the peace and security of lives and property in the region;

Considering that this is a recurrent decimal in Nigeria especially since the inception of the civilian regime in1999;

Considering that the development in Nigeria constitutes great threat to the realisation of the aims and objectives of the Constitutive Act of the African Union and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights;

Considering that the Nigerian government had never taken decisive steps to tackle the issue given the lip service paid to Panels of enquiries set up in the past whose reports are never made known to the public and that perpetrators never been brought to book;

Considering that the impunity of the authors of these criminal acts favours the spirit of revenge and the renewing of the cycles of violence in Nigeria;

Considering the declarations of the United Nations Secretary-General on May 10, 2004, urging the Nigerian government to ensure the security of individuals and property and to promote reconciliation in conformity with the principles of the rule of law;

The NGO forum requests the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights to urge the Nigerian authorities:

  • To immediately set up an independent mission of investigation with the mandate to investigate ethnic religious violence in Nigeria since 1999 and more particularly the recent Yelwa and Kano violence;
  • To make public the report of the mission, prosecute the perpetrators in conformity with acceptable international standards of due process and compensate the victims;
  • To take all necessary measures to ensure the peace and security of individuals and property as provided by Article 6 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights;
  • To condemn the state of emergency imposed in Plateau State since it is not done in conformity with the law
  • To condemn out right the “shoot at sight” orders issued by the State Government in Kaduna.

Done in Banjul, May 20th 2004

Resolution of the NGO Forum on Mauritania

We the participants at the Forum on NGO Participation at the 35th Ordinary Session of the African Commission On Human And Peoples, Rights and at the 9th Book Fair on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Africa, held at the Kairaba Beach Hotel, Banjul, from 18 – 20 May, 2004,

1. Considering:

• The persistence of human rights violations which could fuel the risks of institutional instability and violence;
• The unprecedented imprisonment of the main Opposition Leader and former Head of State, Mohammed Khouna Ould Haidalla and his colleagues, on the eve and in the wake of the 7 November presidential elections;
• Their five-year deprivation of civil and civic rights denying, through legal means, a segment of the population from participating in an alternative government- thus inciting certain political leaders to resort to the use of arms as a means of transition;
• The recurrent acts of torture of adult and under age detainees, especially those inflicted on the perpetrators of the 8 June, 2003 putsch and their allies, which retaliation has sanctioned family ties as an offence;
• The case of repeated torturers, who have yet to be punished even though they have already been identified as the perpetrators of racist abuses, committed between 1989 and 1991, on hundreds of black African soldiers and civilians;
• The failure to enforce the Law adopted in 2003 against the traffic of persons, even though proven cases of slavery are on the increase and have been filed before the Courts.
• Censorship of the Press, Human Rights Defender NGOs and certain Unions.

2. Recommend:

a. That the Commission:

• Makes a public pronouncement on the failure of the Mauritanian Authorities to consider the reports and recommendations adopted at the Algiers session, especially those relating to impunity.

• Fields a fact-finding mission on prisons and the ill-treatment of prisoners, including foreigners, since 2000.

b. That the Government of Mauritania:

• Authorises the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights send observers to the trials of Officers and soldiers involved in the putsch.
• Abrogates all the provisions of the Law which organise, in criminal matters, corporal punishment, infringe on the equality of sexes and restrict the freedom of expression and conscience, in the civil and procedural domains.
• Affords the necessary authorisation to national Human Rights Defenders NGOs with observer status at the Commission or which meet the stipulations of Mauritanian Law on Associations.

Done in Banjul, May 20th, 2004

Resolution on Ivory Coast

We the participants at the Forum on NGO Participation at the 35th Ordinary Session of the African Commission On Human And Peoples, Rights and at the 9th Book Fair on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Africa, held at the Kairaba Beach Hotel, Banjul, from 18 – 20 May, 2004,

Considering that since 1999, Ivory Coast has been caught up in a spiral of violence and insecurity characterised by:

  • The war which broke out on 19 September, 2002 leading to thousands of death and the forced displacement of large segments of the population and created a zone devoid of administration and rule of law;
  • The bloody repressions of the 24, 24, and 26 March, 2004 of an opposition demonstration killing at least 120 people and wounding 247 civilians;

Considering the Linas Marcoussis and the Accra 11 Agreements dated 24 January, 2003 and 7 March, 2003 respectively, aimed at fostering peace and reconciliation in Ivory Coast,

Considering the Security Council resolutions calling for the setting up of an International Commission of Enquiry into the 19 September, 2002 events;

Considering the findings of the Commission of enquiry of the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights which found the Highest Authorities responsible for the 24, 24, and 26 March, 2004 massacres;

Considering the grave concern expressed on 27 March, 2004 by the African Union Peace and Security Council at the situation prevailing in Ivory Coast and its repercussions on peace, security, and stability for this country and for the entire sub-region.(PSC/PR/Comm. (2004) (111));

Considering that the fight against the impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators of crimes committed since 1999 is the sine qua non for an end to the hostilities in Ivory Coast, and that the disarmament of combatants and compensation for the victims of war are also key elements for the resolution of this conflict;

The NGO Forum calls upon the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ rights to:

1. Condemn the grave and rampant violation of human rights, irrespective of the status of the perpetrators, committed against the civilians since 19 September, 2002, such as summary executions, acts of torture and arbitrary detention and disappearance meted out on civilians;

2. Request the President of the Republic of Ivory Coast the National reconciliation government and to all the Ivorian political parties, to enforce the Linas Marcoussis and Accra 11 Agreements in good faith;

3. Request the Ivorian authorities:

  • to spare no effort in ensuring that the perpetrators of the criminal acts of 25, 26, and 27 March, 2004 are taken to court and tried in accordance with the international and regional provisions governing the Right to a Fair Trial and that the victims and their families are paid damages ;
  • to respond to the exigencies of the fight against impunity for all crimes committed since the end of 1999 by placing Ivory Coast under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court and by promoting the setting up of a special Tribunal of an international nature.
  • to establish a national census, rehabilitation, and compensation for victims (CRC), similar to the Disarmament demobilisation, and reintegration Programme (DDR), through legislation.

Done in Banjul, Gambia, 20 May, 2004

Resolution on the Situation of Human Rights in Darfur, Sudan

The Forum on the participation of the NGOs in the 35th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the 9th Human Rights Book Fair held at the Kairaba Beach Hotel in Banjul, The Gambia from May 18 – 20 2004,

Considering the provisions of the Constitutive Act of the African Union, the Charter of the United Nations, as well as those of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter) and other regional and international human rights instruments to which the Sudan is a state party;

Mindful that, Sudan, as a State Party to the aforementioned instruments, is morally and legally bound to fully and effectively implement the provisions of these instruments and respect and promote the human rights and fundamental freedoms set therein without discrimination on any ground;

Noting with great concern the massive violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, including mass killings, extra-judicial executions, sexual violence as a means of warfare, and the abduction of women and children perpetrated by the government of the Sudan and/or armed groups under its control or allied to the government, including the Janjaweed, many of which may amount to war crimes and/or crimes against humanity as stated in the May 2004 report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights;

Deeply concerned about the widespread human rights abuses committed by all parties to the ongoing conflict in the Darfur region, Western Sudan;

Deeply concerned about reports of ongoing violations of the 45 day cease fire agreement that came into effect April 11,2004 and the potentially escalating cross-border impact of the hostilities, which threatens regional peace and security;

Alarmed by reports from various sources, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, indicating a pattern of forced displacement of the region’s indigenous population by militia groups allied to the Sudanese government;

THE NGO FORUM CALL UPON the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights:

a) to adopt at its 35th Ordinary Session, a resolution publicly condemning all violations of international human rights and humanitarian law committed by any party to the conflict in Darfur and calling for the complete and immediate implementation of all the recommendations made in the May 2004 report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

b) to monitor the implementation of the resolution referred to above and to immediately designate a Special Rapporteur or any other appropriate mechanism on the Situation of Human Rights in Darfur to act urgently and make public reports to the African Commission’s Ordinary Sessions on his/her activities;

c) to urge the African Union to look into ways and means of collaborating with other international partners, in order to put in place an international peace keeping force in the region

d) to establish an Independent International Commission of Inquiry into the atrocities committed by all parties in the conflict, and to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.

Done in Banjul, The Gambia on the 20th of May 2004

________________________________________________________________________
1 Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Situation of human rights in the Darfur region of the Sudan U.N. Doc. No. E/CN.4/2005/3 (7 May 2004).

Resolution on the Situation in the Pool Division of the Republic of Congo

We the participants at the Forum on NGO Participation at the 35th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights and at the 9th Book Fair on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Africa, held at the Kairaba Beach Hotel, Banjul, from 18 – 20 May, 2004,

Taking note that on 17 May, 2003, an agreement for peace and an end to hostilities was signed between the Congolese Minister of State, Mr. Isidore MVOUBA, and the President of the National Resistance Council, Reverend Pasteur NTOUMI (CNR);

Considering that more than one year after the signing of this agreement for peace and an end to hostilities, the POOL Division is still enduring the ravages of the war; the Congolese people in this Division are still plagued by the atrocities committed both by the Reverend Pasteur NTOUMI’s militia as well as the Congolese Army; the question of the return of displaced persons and disarmament of combatants is yet to be resolved;

In view of the alarming report on the situation in the POOL Division of the Republic of Congo, presented on 3 September, 2003, by the United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs;

Considering the provisions of the international instruments relating to the protection of human rights, the developments in international criminal law and the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights;

The NGO Forum urges the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights to enjoin

1. the parties to the POOL Division conflict to

  • cease all hostilities forthwith and establish a veritable cease fire in the Division, in accordance with the 17 May, 2003 Agreement,
  • proceed with the disarmament of warring parties and the handing over of these arms to the “ad hoc” Committee provided for by the 17 May, 2003 Agreement.
  • participate fully in the restoration of security and freedom of movement within the POOL Division.

2. the Congolese Government to

  • pursue and try the perpetrators of international crimes in the POOL Division,
  • adopt an internal law adapting the statutes of the International Criminal Court including the definition of crimes, the general principles of International Criminal Law, and Cooperation between the Congolese State and the Organs of the Court,
  • ensure the safety of displaced Congolese originally from the POOL Division repatriated to the Division;
  • allow national and international human rights organisations to go to and travel within the POOL division to verify full compliance with the 17 March, 2003 Agreement.

Done in Banjul, May 20th, 2004

Recommendation on the Situation of Refugees in Africa

The Forum on NGO Participation at the Ordinary Session of the ACHPR recommends:

That the Commission:

  • consolidates the African mechanisms for the prevention of conflicts;
  • promotes the avenue of peaceful resolution to conflicts which lead to the forced displacement of populations;
  • ensures the prompt implementation of  the memorandum of agreement between the ACHPR and HRC;
  • invites the NGOs concerned to contribute to the implementation of the objectives of the process;
  • organises a conference of  concerned parties in order to discuss the mandate and prerogatives of the focal point.

That the States:

  • reinforce the protection and free movement of asylum seekers and refugees through the proper enforcement of those national and international legal instruments geared towards optimum protection of human Rights;
  • provide safe havens for the displaced  population, for their ease of access to humanitarian assistance and restrict the risk of influx from neighbouring countries;
  • involve the authorities and communities in the handling of refugees and development programmes and  conflict  prevention in the  allocated zones;
  • to vigilantly ensure that the refugee camps do not serve as tactical withdrawal or  recruitment bases for armed groups and remain civilian bases.

 

Done in Banjul, May 20th, 2004

Recommendation on the Situation of Women and Children in Africa

We the participants at the Forum on NGO Participation at the Ordinary Session of the ACHPR,

Considering the repeated violations of rights affecting women and children in Africa;

Considering the deportation, enslavement, trafficking of street children and the proliferation of street children in certain African countries;

Considering the persistence of harmful traditional practices against women and/or children in certain African countries (children “talibes”, street children and genital mutilations);

Considering the increasing feminisation of poverty and the stigmatisation of female victims of HIV Aids;

The Forum recommends that:

  • All AU Member States ratify the Protocol to the African Charter relating to the rights of Women in Africa to ensure its entry into force;
  • All AU Member States ratify the United Nations Convention Against all forms of Discrimination against Women, and those States which ratified the Convention with reservations should rescind them;
  • Internal Laws be harmonised with the above-mentioned international instruments;
  • A special mechanism for the protection of women and children in conflict situations be established;
  • Child soldiers be disarmed and demobilised and a social reintegration system be put in place;
  • The effective implementation by member states of  HIV Aids Control Programmes;
  • The setting up of a system providing  women access to social security;
  • Active African NGO networks be created in the areas of Women Rights or Rights of the Child at the national and regional levels.

Done in Banjul, May 20th, 2004

Recommendations on Small Arms, Child Soldiers and Mercenaries

The Forum on NGO Participation at the Ordinary Session of the ACHPR recommends:

The adoption by ECOWAS Member States of a legal instrument restricting and regulating the importation, trading and manufacture of small arms (ALPC);

1. The prohibition of the transfer of arms to non-state parties within the ECOWAS Zone;

2. The Strengthening of the institutional and technical capacity of the National Commissions (NATCOM) to render them  functional and efficient by:

  • Endowing the NatComs with a legal status to ensure their effective functioning,
  • Training or involving members of the NatComs in training programmes in the fields of disarmament, peace and security.

3. That the effective control of the circulation of  Small Arms be ensured through:

  • The establishment of coherent legal and regulatory framework to control the circulation of Small arms,
  • Stricter borders controls,
  • The denunciation and sanctioning of countries and individuals violating arms embargoes or which carry out or are involved in illegal arms dealing.

4. The effective implementation by ECOWAS Member States of the sub-regional, regional and international Conventions on the  Protection of Children before, during and after conflicts:

  • Need for a sub-regional civil society coalition to arrest the use of child soldiers,
  • Free child soldiers enrolled in armed and regular security forces,

5. The urgent transformation of the moratorium expiring in October, 2004 into a Convention and the setting up of a Small Arms Department within  ECOWAS.

6. The strengthening of the AU/NEPAD Security Programme, the United Nations Action Plan, and the recommendations of Children’s Organisations.

7.  Increased sensitisation campaigns on the sale of small arms.

8. The strengthening of National Commissions which serve as focal points for the implementation of all Small Arms Agreements.

 

Done in Banjul, May 20th, 2004