Statement By: Mrs. Hannah Forster, Executive Director, African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies and Chairperson of the NGO Forum Steering Committee

Statement By: Mrs. Hannah Forster, Executive Director, African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies and Chairperson of the NGO Forum Steering Committee, on Behalf of Participants of the Forum of NGOS at the Official Opening of the 50th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, 24th October, 2011, Sheraton Gambia Hotel Resorts and Spa, The Gambia.

Honourable Attorney General and Secretary of State for Justice and National Assembly Affairs representing the Republic of The Gambia;
My Lord, Chief Justice of The Republic of The Gambia;
My Lord, Justices of the Republic of The Gambia;
Honourable Members of the National Assembly;
Honourable Ministers,
Dr. Salah Hammad, representing H.E. Mrs. Julia Dolly Joiner, Commissioner, Department for Political Affairs of the African Union Commission;
Your Excellencies, Madam Chairperson, Vice Chairperson and Members of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR);
Representatives of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights,
My Lord, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda;
Your Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps;
Distinguished Executive Members of the Governing Council of the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS);
Distinguished State Representatives;
Venerable Religious and Traditional Leaders;
Representatives of National Human Rights Institutions;
Representatives of National and International NGOs;
Representatives of the Press;
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen;

All protocols respectfully observed

It is with pleasure and with a great sense of humility that I stand before this distinguished gathering of the African human rights community, charged with the responsibility to give a statement on behalf of all my colleagues of the Forum of NGOs in work of the 50th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

On behalf of the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS); The NGO Forum Steering Committee; all the participants of the NGO Forum, and indeed on my own behalf, I wish to thank the Chairperson and Members of the African Commission for affording us this opportunity, once again.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

The Forum wishes to also express our gratitude to the Government and people of The Gambia for their hospitality, in facilitating the activities of the 50th Ordinary Session and to reiterate the appreciation of the participants of the Forum of NGOs for the warmth afforded them since their arrival. The Forum would also wish to acknowledge the consistency demonstrated in hosting the African Commission sessions.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Forum on the Participation of NGOs in the 50th Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, commonly referred to as the NGO Forum was held from the 19-21 October, 2011 a few days before the commencement of this historic Session of the Commission.

Noting that this year is an important one for human rights in Africa, and considering that the Banjul Charter is 30 years old this year, while the Commission is 25 years, the Forum adopted the theme ‘30 years of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights’.

The Forum noted that while Africa has seen significant and positive developments in the human rights and democracy situation on the continent, it is worthy to observe an improvement in the respect for human rights, good governance and the rule of law. In its wake, the African Charter has seen the formulation, adoption, ratification, domestication and implementation of numerous instruments; decisions and mechanisms to match this growing tide. Moreover, we are all here today, witnesses at this momentous golden jubilee session of the African Commission and would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Her Excellency, the Commissioner for Political Affairs, Mrs. Julia Dolly Joiner; the Chairperson and Members of the African Commission; the Secretary and Members of the Secretariat; all State Parties and indeed the people of Africa for whom this instrument was developed.

The role of the African Union in strengthening the continental framework to promote and protect human and peoples’ rights in Africa has spurred the pursuit of human rights which has become an integral responsibility, by ensuring that the Human Rights Strategy for Africa is at the heart of the African Governance Architecture.

The increased involvement of civil society organisations in these processes are exemplary and commendable and have indeed gone a long way to enhance partnerships and promote ownership of the various processes by the African people.

While applauding these developments, the Forum asserted that Africa continues to face serious human rights challenges characterised by conflict, insecurity and violence. Poverty, disease, internal political strife, resulting in the taking up of arms by rebel groups, arbitrary detention and extrajudicial killings continue to bring hardships to the majority of citizens of the affected countries, especially the women and children. The Rwanda genocide remains a constant reminder on the extent to which unrestrained lawlessness and lack of commitment to early warning can lead to unwarranted loss of life, property and above all dignity.

The full report of the Forum together with the adopted resolutions and recommendations will be forwarded, for the kind consideration of your august body, as our contribution to your deliberations at the 50th Session. Allow me, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, to highlight and share with you some of the concerns and evolving issues raised during the Forum.

Instances of serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in varying degrees were cited particularly in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); Egypt; Guinea Conakry; Malawi; Mauritania; Nuba Mountain and Sudan.

The Forum received reports of escalating physical violence and verbal abuse on journalists and human rights defenders; impunity of the armed forces that have committed violations of international human rights law as well as violations of human rights violations as the DRC prepares for elections next month.

The African Commission is urged to call on the authorities, to among other things, guarantee the independence of the institutions charged with the management of the elections at all stages of the process and to encourage the relevant authorities respect their constitutional provisions and international obligations.

It was observed that in Egypt, while the state of emergency is yet to be lifted, trials of civilians before military courts has continued unabated since January 28, 2011, causing much concern. Furthermore, severe infringements on freedom of peaceful assembly, leading to extra-judicial killings and acts of violence against protesters continue to take place.

In Guinea Conakry, the Forum was concerned by the brutal repression and use of force on opposition parties during a protest march against the composition of the National Independent Electoral Commission and the prevailing circumstances surrounding the organisation of legislative elections.

In Malawi, the deteriorating of the rule of law, abuse of executive power, erosion of human rights and academic freedom, among other violations. On July 20, 2011 protesters, mostly civilians, were met with bullets and batons during a peaceful protest march, resulting in the death of a University student, Robert Chasowa. It was also reported that the intimidation and harassment of civic leaders, human rights defenders and academics continues unabated. The Forum urges the abovementioned States to ensure that the perpetrators do not go unpunished.

The Forum recognised and applauded the African Union’s firm stance against undemocratic and unconstitutional change but draws attention to emerging moves referred to as the ‘new forms of coup d’etats’ characterised by constitutional amendments to legalise extended terms of office by incumbents, the latest being witnessed in Senegal, in the wake Uganda, Nigeria, among others. We, therefore, applaud the work done by the African Union and its partners towards the development, adoption, ratification and implementation of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (The African Democracy Charter), a useful tool in the promotion and protection of democracy. We sincerely request the African Commission to urge States that have not ratified to consider doing so and thereby expedite its entry into force.

Consequently, we would request the African Commission to adopt a resolution publicly condemning all violations of international human rights and humanitarian law committed by all persons in all conflicts in Africa and to work with the African Union in their resolution.

While it was recalled that a good number of African countries will go to the polls within the next 12 months, the Forum called on the African Commission to urge relevant authorities in such countries to ensure the organisation of free and fair elections. The international community is urged to support civil society participation in these forthcoming elections.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

There is no doubt, that the violations in some of these countries already indicate warning signs of deterioration in the system. We further urge the Commission to propose concrete steps to ensure the resolution of these aforementioned conflicts.

Similarly, the human rights situation in countries like Zimbabwe has not ceased to attract the attention of the Forum, particularly in the review of housing as a human rights and more specifically at forced evictions. The need to provide aid and protection to the victims of the forced evictions and demolitions was reemphasised.

The suppression of freedom of the press continues to be the order of the day on our continent with formulation of draconian laws, harassment, intimidation, killings and arbitrary detention.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

Although the situation of Human Rights Defenders on the continent continues to be very hazardous, we are heartened by the appointment of a Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Defenders in Africa to facilitate coordination and collaboration in this theme within the African Commission. The Forum wishes to express its satisfaction so far in working with this mechanism and urge the African Commission to provide sufficient resources for the maintenance of this mechanism to ensure greater impact.

The settling situations of refugees returning to Sierra Leone, Angola, and Liberia continue to bring some hope, however, we remain gravely concerned by some involuntary movements of refugees and internally displaced persons especially in countries where there have been long periods of displacement.

It is believed that in such situations, there is need to offer special protection particularly to women and girl children who often find themselves open to abuse as a result of break down in security. The Forum therefore, wishes to request the African Commission to urge States to ratify the Kampala Refugee Convention and thereby strengthened the legal framework dealing with refugees and internally displaced persons in Africa..

Moreover, it has been revealed that the use of torture and the application of the death penalty continue to be practiced in some States. We would wish to call on the African Commission to urge States to prohibit torture and to commit themselves to its abolition as well as condemn the death penalty. The promotion and use of the Robben Island Guidelines was highly recommended to States.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

The Forum continued to review the continuing depletion of Africa’s resources and the deterioration of the environment as a result of the lack of transparency in investments and corporate policy was also a preoccupation and the Forum has developed further strategies to address this theme. The need to revisit agreements between African countries and multi-laterals to ensure a fair and equitable sharing of profits realised from Africa’s resources cannot be emphasised.

The Forum also emphasised the necessity of popularising the various documents emanating particularly from the African Union and the African Commission to ensure that the messages contained therein reach our constituents – the African populace. The importance of human rights education was also underscored in view of the fact that despite that African Charter is 30 years old, many citizens of Africa are still not aware of its existence.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

On behalf of the participants, please allow me to reiterate the readiness of the NGO community to work with these mechanisms in the realization of their mandates. As partners in the process, we are committed to putting all our expertise and resources at the disposal of the African Commission in the realization of the various objectives.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

Participants to the Forum of NGOs noted with satisfaction the entering into force of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which provided the first step towards the tackling of impunity on our Continent and the consolidation of the Commission’s decisions. We would wish the African Commission to appeal to States, which have not ratified the Protocol, to speedily ratify and therefore enable the inevitable implementation of the Protocol to the Court, especially in relation to signing the Declaration which gives access to individuals and NGOs.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

The entry into force of the Protocol to the African Charter relating to the Rights of Women in Africa indeed marked a major step in the promotion and protection of the rights of women in Africa and a tangible demonstration of successful collaborative work between the AU, the African Commission and human rights NGOs in Africa. We, therefore, wish to congratulate all the 31 countries that have ratified the Protocol but fervently hope that universal ratifications by other states would ensue shortly, in order to provide the much needed momentum to put into action gender equality in our various countries.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

While applauding the gender parity policy adopted by the African Union, which continues to make history and is a clear testimony of its dream for the women of Africa, the Forum urges States to replicate similar policies at the national level in conformity with the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa.

Your Excellencies, Madam Chairperson and Members of the African Commission, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

We cannot conclude this statement without making mention of the wave of impunity that remains very poignant on the continent.

In the true spirit of the African Union’s Constitutive Act in which the Heads of State of Africa professed a ‘common vision of a united and strong Africa, energised by partnership between governments and all segments of civil society’, representatives at this Forum reaffirmed their commitment to the reinforcement of this partnership with the African Union and all its organs, not the least, the African Commission.

In the same vein, participants reiterated their readiness, particularly NGOs with Observer Status, to work in collaboration with the African Commission, and of course, the African Union, in the furtherance of human rights, good governance and the rule of law in Africa. It is heartening to observe the seriousness and commitment of participants in the preparations leading to their participation in this Session. Our passion is to witness much more change in the landscape and we are confident that with the unflinching support of the African Union all should be well.

The Forum, however, expressed concern over the constraints faced by the African Commission in the implementation of its mandate and would like to take this opportunity to launch an appeal to the international community to support the strengthening of this institution.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, on behalf of the participants of the NGO Forum, allow me to wish the Honourable Chairperson and all the Members of the African Commission fruitful deliberations and a successful golden jubilee Session.

Thank You.

HJF

ACDHRS-October 2011

 

TREC/004/10/2011: Resolution on Prevention and Prohibition of Torture and other Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment; and Prisons and Conditions of Detention in Africa

We, the participants to the NGO Forum in the 50th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and 24th African Human Rights Book Fair held from 19th – 21st October, 2011 in Banjul, The Gambia

Concerned about the persistent practice of unlawful arrests and arbitrary and secret detention throughout the continent, enforced disappearances which often result in the use of torture and ill-treatment of people in violation of the African Charter, in particular Articles 4 and 5,

Concerned by the conditions of places of detention, in particular overcrowding, the lack of access to health, to water and food, the absence of separation between women and men, juveniles and adults, the lack of adequate prisons and facilities for prisoners with disability, women and their children in clear violation of Articles 5 and 6 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (“African Charter”),

Noting that an independent national oversight mechanism to monitor all places of detention and prisons would address some of these issues,

Preoccupied by the lack of prompt access of detainees, especially while in police and prison custody, to lawyers, doctors, health facilities and family members and the insufficient recording of arrested persons kept in police and prison custody and the length of pre-trial detention in violation of Article 7 of the African Charter,

Recalling the obligations of Member States under the African Charter and noting that 43 Member States have ratified the UN Convention against Torture and Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment and Punishment (“UN Convention against Torture”),

Concerned about the lack of the express criminalization of torture in the domestic law of the majority of Member States despite their obligation to do so, often preventing victims of torture and ill treatment to access justice,

Noting that the absence of criminalization of these offences must not prevent the adequate investigation and prosecution thereof,

Aware of the continued impunity of alleged perpetrators of acts of torture and ill treatment and enforced disappearances, often due to, inter alia, a lack of political will to investigate and prosecute, the lack of an independent judiciary, corruption, the absence of a relevant legal framework and practical facilities to carry out investigations and/or the fear of victims of reprisals and intimidation when attempting to seek justice,

Conscious of the risks of victims of these crimes in filing complaints on a national and regional level and the important role of the African Commission in this respect,

Recalling the opportunities provided under the African Charter and the Robben Island Guidelines to address violations of the African Charter, in particular Articles 1, 4,5,6 and 7,

Recalling in particular that the African Commission has a crucial role to play on the Continent to protect and promote the rights enshrined in these Articles in particular through its Communication procedure, developing jurisprudence on pertinent human rights issues and its two special mechanisms, i.e. the Special Rapporteur on Prisons and Centres of Detention and the Committee for the Prevention of Torture in Africa (CPTA),

We therefore call on the African Commission:
To adopt a resolution at its 50th session calling on Member States to:

  • Comply with their obligations under the African Charter, the UN Convention against Torture and the Convention for the protection of all persons from enforced disappearances, in particular through the criminalization of these offences in their national legislation in accordance with international law standards;
  • Provide victims with the right to a remedy and full reparation, including rehabilitation, restitution, compensation, just satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition;
  • Carry out training of key stakeholders, bearing in mind international law standards and in particular the Istanbul Protocol on the investigation and documentation of torture and other ill treatment;

Done in Banjul – 21st October, 2011

 

TREC/003/10/2011: Recommendation on State Reporting to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Africa

We, the participants to the NGO Forum in the 50thOrdinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and 24th African Human Rights Book Fair held from 19th – 21st October, 2011 in Banjul, The Gambia

Having observed the general lack of compliance to the submission of country reports to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights;

Noting the commitment made by African states to the submission of country reports as stipulated in Article 62 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights

Further noting that guidelines to state reporting on the Protocol to the African Charter on Women’s Rights in Africa were also adopted by the African Commission during the 48th Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights

Concerned about the lack of political will by member states to comply with the reporting requirements to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights

Deeply concerned about the lack of effective monitoring mechanisms to ensure member states’ compliance with the reporting requirements and subsequent follow up to ensure actual implementation of recommendations made by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights’

Hereby recommend to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to:

  • Strongly urge member states with outstanding reports to submit their country reports forthwith and adhere to adopted reporting guidelines;
  • Reinforce the importance of compliance with Article 62 of the Charter and the reporting guidelines to the Protocol to the Charter on Women’s Rights in Africa; and
  • Undertake to effectively monitor compliance of Article 62 of the African Charter and follow up on recommendations made after state reporting

Done in Banjul – 21st October, 2011

TREC/002/10/2011: Recommendations on Children’s Rights

We, the participants to the NGO Forum in the 50th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and 24th African Human Rights Book Fair held from 19th – 21st October, 2011 in Banjul, The Gambia

Recognising the child’s unique and privileged position in the African society as reiterated in the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (African Children’s Charter) and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter)

Noting with grave concern that children’s rights have seldom featured in the work of the Commission in the past thirty years since the adoption of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights; and

Deeply concerned that despite ACHPR Resolution 144 in 2009 calling for greater collaboration between the African Commission and the ACERWC, this has not been effectively implemented to yield results for the children on the African continent

Hereby recommend to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to:

  • Reinforce its linkage and collaboration with the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) by calling for a Special Rapporteur on Children. The mechanism can be from within or outside the Commission but still reports to the Commission; and
  • Mainstream child rights in the work of the Commission. To this end we call for the commission to develop guidelines on the child rights mainstreaming in all its activities.

Done in Banjul – 21st October, 2011

TREC/001/10/2011 : Recommendation on the Granting of Observer Status to the Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL)

We, the participants to the NGO Forum in the 50th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and 24th African Human Rights Book Fair held from 19th – 21st October, 2011 in Banjul, The Gambia

Recalling the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights which entrusts it with a treaty monitoring function and the mandate to promote human and peoples’ rights and ensure their protection in Africa;

Recalling the resolution on the criteria for the granting and enjoyment of observer status of non-governmental organisations working in the field of human rights with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights;

Recalling the resolution on the protection of human rights defenders in Africa;

Recognizing the on-going violations of the rights of human rights defenders in many member states;

Concerned at the failure of the African Commission on Human Peoples’ Rights to grant observer status to the Coalition of African Lesbians, an organization that meets the criteria for eligibility to the granted observer status.

Recognizing that the Coalition of African Lesbians is a human rights organization that works to protect LGBTI people from human rights violations including: discrimination, extrajudicial killings, rape, hate crimes, and other forms of sexual violence.

Deeply concerned that despite efforts by civil society organizations to obtain reasons for the refusal to be granted observer status, the Commission has repeatedly failed to do so;

Recognizing that the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights works to protect human rights defenders from human rights violations and should be cognizant of the heightened risk that LGBTI human rights defenders are faced with.

We therefore recommend that the African Commission:

  • Reconsiders its decision to granting observer status to the Coalition of African Lesbians
  • Reassure that working for the protection against human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity should not constitute a bar from enjoying observer status with the African Commission of Human and Peoples’ Rights;
  • Create an environment that enables civil society organizations to participate and use the African human rights protection mechanisms to protect human rights.

Done in Banjul – 21st October, 2011

TRES/009/10/2011: Resolution on Policing and Human Rights

We, the participants to the NGO Forum in the 50th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and 24th African Human Rights Book Fair held from 19th – 21st October, 2011 in Banjul, The Gambia

Being aware that a police that uphold the principles of Rule of Law is essential in the maintenance and enforcement of law and order and the promotion of citizen safety in a manner compliant with the rights enshrined in the African Charter in articles 1 ,5 and 6;

Concerned that the recent past has witnessed numerous examples, across the continent, of a police that disregard the rule of law and act outside of agreed standards of human rights and Codes of Conduct. This includes failure to protect citizens, harassment, inappropriate use of force by the police, lack of accountability, extrajudicial killing and summary executions, arbitrary and illegal arrest and torture and inappropriate police responses to the public order and policing of assemblies;

Recognising that policing in Africa is often characterised by the post conflict history of the Continent is often impeded by limited budgets, lack of training, poor equipment, poor working conditions, disregard of police officers human rights, corruption, poor strategic planning in criminal justice and antiquated laws;

Recognising the growing demands placed on police by national and transnational crime threats and migration will place increasing pressure on policing and that meaningful dialogue between civil society and the police can generate important knowledge exchanges;

Noting the outcome of recent continental and international discussions on security sector reform that there is a need to use regional and continental mechanisms to encourage and support countries to undertake sustainable security sector reform;

Acknowledging the important work being done at the SADC, ECOWAS and EAC to promote human rights and policing through mechanism like Codes of Conduct and Common Standards of Policing.

Acknowledging human rights is a critical facet of security sector reform and that the ACHPR as an independent continental organisation is in a unique position to champion an African dialogue on policing and human rights;

Recognising, the need for relevant actors such as states, regional and continental mechanisms like the ACHPR, National Human Rights Intuitions national police agencies and civil society to work closely together to promote policing compliant with human rights standards.

We urge the African Commission to:

  • Establish a focal point responsible for policing and human rights within the African Commission and ensure policing is a specific and consistent theme of State reports and country visits. Such a focal point will include representation from the police, the state and civil society.
  • Support the facilitation of regional conferences on policing and human rights to build towards a continental conference on Policing and Human Rights.

Done in Banjul – 21st October, 2011

TRES/008/10/2011: Resolution on Transformation of State Controlled Broadcaster into Independent Public Broadcasters

We, the participants to the NGO Forum in the 50th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and 24th African Human Rights Book Fair held from 19th – 21st October, 2011 in Banjul, The Gambia

Deeply concerned that out of the 54 members states, only one can claim to have a truly independent broadcaster (South Africa)

Recalling the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (enacted by the UN in 1966), which emphasizes rights of individuals to hold opinions without interference, individual’s right to seek, receive and impart information, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of choice;

Recalling Article 9 of the Windhoek Declaration (General Assembly of UNESCO in 1991) declaring that an independent pres free from government control and manipulation, that is pluralistic and free is established and maintained;

Noting with satisfaction that the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa (adopted by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in 2002) clearly interprets the rights of freedom of expression outlined in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (adopted on 27 June 1981), focusing on public broadcaster in Africa, specifically article VI:

State and government controlled broadcasters should be transformed into public service broadcasters, accountable to the public through the legislature (parliament/national Assembly) rather than government (executive), in accordance with the following principles:

  • Public broadcasters should be governed by a board which is protected against interference, particularly of a political or economic nature;
  • The editorial independence of public service broadcasters should be guaranteed;
  • Public broadcasters should be adequately funded in a manner that protects them from arbitrary interference with their budgets;
  • Public broadcasters should strive to ensure that their transmission system covers the whole territory of the country; and
  • The public service ambit of public broadcasters should be clearly defined and include an obligation to ensure that the public receive adequate, politically balanced information, particularly during election periods.

Hereby call on the African Commission to urge AU Member States to :

  • Enact adequate and relevant legislation that will transform state broadcasters, which are maintained by taxpayers’ money, into independent public broadcasters free from government control and executive interference
  • Encourage and ensure that autonomy and independence of media and communications regulatory bodies is guaranteed
  • Encourage their Parliaments to take initiative and assert their mandate as oversight institutions and scrutinize the public broadcaster to ensure that appointment procedures of the broadcaster’s board and top management is transparent and that the editorial, funding, programming, and administrative independence is vigilantly guarded
  • Encourge and support civil society, trade unions, faith and community based organizations to form an ‘Alliance for Broadcasting Reform in Africa’ with the aim of attaining the transformation objective of turning state broadcasters into public broadcasters within the shortest possible time
  • Expunge all media laws that impinge on freedom of expression, an which contravene continental treaties, norms and standards, with the aim of cultivating a culture of open government aimed at deepening democracy
  • Enact Access to Information legislation as enshrined in the respective African Union protocols, treaties and charters, most recent of which is the Charter on Public Services
  • Develop and communicate with the citizenry a clear roadmap towards the 2015 deadline towards digital migration

 

Done in Banjul – 21st October, 2011