We, participants at the 46th session of the NGO Forum call upon the commission
1. to act on the resolution made during the previous session on Zimbabwe and send the Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression as a matter of urgency on a fact-finding and investigative mission to Zimbabwe regarding violations of the right to freedom of expression and to especially to pursue the following:
- The arrests and prosecution of journalists and human rights defenders for exercising the right to freedom of expression.
- Delay in freeing media space for a diverse and pluralistic media.
- The repressive laws and institutions hindering the exercise and enjoyment of this right in Zimbabwe.
2. We call upon the Commission to pursue and act upon the disappearance of the Gambian journalist Chief Ibrahim Manneh who has been missing since 2006.
3. We also call upon the African Commission to urge the coalition government of Zimbabwe to implement the Commission’s 4 June 2009 ruling that it should repeal article 79 and 80 of Access to information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), which remains inconsistent with the provisions of the African Charter, as well as urge them to comply with the outcome of the commission’s 2002 fact-finding mission.
4. The Commission is also urged to put pressure on all countries to repeal all laws that criminalize the exercise of freedom of expression as in Zimbabwe, Gambia, Sierra-Leone and Tanzania and also urge them to put in place legislation that enhance the enjoyment of the right to freedom of expression such as freedom of Information laws, Sierra-Leone being an example.
5. We urge the commission to condemn the continuing attacks and persecution of the media in Tanzania which saw the shutting down of the Mwanahalisi news paper following the acid attack on two of its journalists. This is more so as it approaches its 2010 elections.
Done at Banjul, November 9th, 2009