TRES/005/4/2015 : RESOLUTION SUR LES FEMMES DEFENSEURS DES DROITS DE L’HOMME EN AFRIQUE

TRES/005/4/2015 : RESOLUTION SUR LES FEMMES DEFENSEURS DES DROITS DE L’HOMME EN AFRIQUE
Nous, participants au Forum sur la Participation des ONG aux travaux de la 56ème Session ordinaire de la Commission africaine des droits de l’homme et des peuples et à la 30ème Foire du Livre africain des droits de l’homme, tenu en Gambie, du 17 au 19 avril 2015, Rappelant son mandat de promotion et de protection des droits de l’homme et des peuples en Afrique en vertu de la Charte africaine des droits de l’homme et des peuples (la Charte africaine) ;
Rappelant en outre la Déclaration et le Plan d’action de Grand Baie adoptés par la première Conférence ministérielle de l’OUA sur les droits de l’homme en Afrique, tenue du 12 au 16 Avril 1999 à Grand Baie (Maurice) ; et la Déclaration de Kigali adoptée par la Conférence ministérielle de l’Union africaine sur les droits de l’homme en Afrique, tenue le 8 mai 2003 à Kigali (Rwanda) ;
Rappelant l’engagement pris par les Etats membres de l’Union africaine dans la Déclaration de Grand Baie (Maurice), de mettre en oeuvre les dispositions de la Déclaration des Nations Unies sur les Défenseurs des droits de l’homme ;
Prenant note de la Résolution ACHPR/69(XXXV) 04 sur la protection des Défenseurs des droits de l’homme en Afrique, et des résolutions ACHPR/Res.119 (XXXXII) 07 et ACHPR/Res.196 (L) 11 sur la situation des Défenseurs des droits de l’homme en Afrique ;
Notant en outre la Résolution ACHPR/Res.230 sur la nécessité d’une étude sur la situation des femmes défenseurs des droits de l’homme en Afrique ;
Se félicitant de l’étude sur la Situation des Femmes défenseurs des droits de l’homme qui sera lancé le 23 avril 2015 ;
Préoccupés par l’environnement de plus en plus difficile dans lequel les défenseurs des droits de l’homme travaillent, notamment les femmes défenseurs des droits de l’homme, caractérisé par des arrestations et des détentions arbitraires persistantes et systématiques, des actes de harcèlement, y compris le harcèlement judiciaire, les menaces et d’autres formes d’intimidation, les exécutions sommaires et extrajudiciaires, et la torture, ainsi que la violence sexospécifique ;
Préoccupés en outre par les nombreuses restrictions et entraves législatives aux activités des défenseurs des droits de l’homme, y compris la criminalisation de leurs activités, en
particulier ceux qui collaborent avec les institutions régionales et internationales de promotion et de protection des droits de l’homme ;
Notant que dans de nombreux pays, les lois et politiques en vigueur aux niveaux local et national entravent la participation pleine et égale des femmes à la vie politique et publique ;
Alarmés par les menaces et les attaques spécifiques auxquelles font face les femmes africaines défenseurs des droits de l’homme dans le cadre de leurs activités quotidiennes, dans le contexte du renforcement du fondamentalisme religieux, ainsi que de la sécurité nationale eu égard aux mesures prises par les Etats pour lutter contre le terrorisme ;
Convaincus que l’étude sur la situation des femmes défenseurs des droits de l’homme et les recommandations qui y sont contenues contribueront à améliorer la situation précaire des droits des femmes défenseurs des droits de l’homme en Afrique ;
Convaincus en outre que l’étude fournit un cadre pour l’élaboration de stratégies appropriées pour la protection des femmes défenseurs des droits de l’homme sur le continent ;
Appelons la Commission africaine à :
1. Exhorter les Etats parties à mettre en oeuvre les recommandations de l’étude en :
2. Prenant des mesures immédiates pour identifier et éliminer tous les obstacles et barrières juridiques et politiques au droit à l’égalité des femmes et leur participation pleine et effective à la vie publique et politique ;
3. Adoptant une loi spécifique pour promouvoir et protéger les femmes défenseurs des droits de l’homme et leur travail dans un cadre élargi visant à protéger et à promouvoir tous les droits humains, conformément aux principes contenus dans la Déclaration des Nations Unies sur les défenseurs des droits de l’homme (1998), la Déclaration de Grand Baie et la Déclaration de Kigali ;
4. Mettant en place un mécanisme efficace, indépendant, impartial national visant à prévenir et à prendre en charge les violations et la discrimination contre les femmes défenseurs des droits de l’homme et leurs familles ;
5. Faisant rapport à la Commission africaine des droits de l’homme et des peuples sur les progrès réalisés dans le cadre de la mise en oeuvre, lors de la présentation de leurs rapports périodiques.
Fait à Banjul, Gambie, le 19 avril 2015.

Posted in Uncategorized

Statement By: Mrs. Hannah Forster, Executive Director, ACDHRS and Chairperson of the NGO Forum Steering Committee

STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF PATICIPANTS OF THE FORUM OF NGOs AT THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE

56TH  ORDINARY SESSION OF THE AFRICAN COMMISSION ON

 HUMAN AND PEOPLES’ RIGHTS, 21st APRIL 2015

 KAIRABA BEACH HOTEL, BANJUL, THE GAMBIA

 

Honourable   Attorney General and  Minister of Justice of the Republic of  The Gambia,  Mrs. Mama Fatima  Singateh;

Honourable Chairperson of The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), Madame Silvie Zeynabou Kayetesi,   Hon.  Vice Chairperson,  Hon.  Bechir  Khalfallah  and Members of the African Commission;

Dr. Khabele Matlosa representing Her Excellency, Madame Aicha L. Abdulahi, Commissioner for Political Affairs, African Union  Commission;

My Lord, Honourable Justice Augustino S.L. Ramadhani, President, African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights; Hon.  Members of  the  African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR);

Honourable Members of the Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child; Mr. Joseph Chilengi, Returning Officer, ECOSOCC, African Union Commission; Honourable Members of  the African Union Organs here  present;

Representatives of African  Union  Member States;

Mr.  Andrea Ori, Representatives of the United  Nations High  Commissioner for Human  Right;t

Mr. Gilbert Sebihogo, Representive, and Members of the Network of National Human Rights Institutions Your Excellencies,  The Dean and  Members of the Diplomatic and  Consular  Corps;

Honourable Ministers of the Republic of The Gambia; Honourable  Members of  the  National Assembly;

Members of the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies Governing Council; Distinguished  Members of the NGO  Forum Steering  Committee;

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

On behalf of my colleagues of the Forum on the Participation of NGOs in the 56th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, I am privileged to deliver this statement to this august gathering. At the onset, please allow me, on behalf of all the participants of the NGO Forum, and indeed on my own behalf, to thank the Chairperson and Members of the African Commission for affording us this opportunity.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

On behalf of The Forum, I would wish also to express our gratitude to the Government and people of The Gambia for their warmth and hospitality, in facilitating the activities of the 56th Ordinary Session and to express the appreciation of the Forum of NGOs for the continued cordiality and warmth accorded them since their arrival on the soil of this beautiful country.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Forum on the Participation of NGOs in the 56th Ordinary Session on the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the 30th African Human Rights Book Fair, organised and facilitated by the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies in collaboration with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, was held at the Kairaba Beach Hotel from 17th – 18th April, 2015. Despite challenges associated with travelling in Africa, the turnout was remarkable, the debate objective and professional leading to the adoption of  commendable  outcomes. Over  200 representatives from 36 African countries participated as well as participants from Belgium, Denmark, France, Geneva, Sweden, The United Kingdom, The United States of America and as far away as Palestine.

The programme was guided by the provisional agenda for the 56th Ordinary Session of the African Commission circulated prior to the said meeting and prepared in consultation with   the  NGO  Steering   Committee,  all  participants,   the  Secretariat  of  the   African

Commission and the ACDHRS Governing Council respectively, with the aim to review and formulate strategies and recommendations on the following three themes

  1. The Developments on the Situation of Human Rights and Democracy in Africa;
  2. The Review of Specific Human Rights Relevant to the Work of the African Commission; and
  3. Networking for Human Rights in

The full report of the Forum together with the adopted resolutions and recommendations will be forwarded, for the kind consideration of your distinguished body, as our contribution to your deliberations at this 56th   Session.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

We crave your indulgence as we present to you a few highlights of the said  deliberations.

Under the themes mentioned above, the various panels included The situation of Women Human Rights Defenders; The role of Youth in Governance and Democracy; Freedom of Association and Assembly; Accountability for Women’s Reproductive Rights; Reprisals; Elections and Human Rights in Africa; and Statelessness and the Right to a Nationality.

Positive developments in the situation of human rights and democracy were recognised by the Forum on the Participation of NGOs in the Work of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. No doubt, the conduct of the recent elections in Nigeria is but a very heartening example among others as it emphasises that  the  harnessing of efforts towards the common goal of accomplishing democracy is attainable. However, it was asserted that a lot more needs to be done as many African countries continue to face challenges of insecurity, disease, poverty, corruption, unemployment, arbitrary detention and extrajudicial killings, violence, rise in terrorist attacks e.g. Boko Haram in the West of Africa and Al Shabab in the East, and many other human rights violations that bring untold hardship and even death to the citizenry of the concerned  countries.

The Forum noted with concern, that the ongoing conflict situations in Cameroun, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Libya, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan coupled with reports of serious crimes under international law continue to pose serious threats to peace and security in Africa.

In Libya, the violence has dramatically escalated and reached the level of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Over the course of 2014, hundreds of activists and civil society members have been targeted, kidnapped, tortured and killed with no one held accountable for these crimes.

More than 400,000 people were internally displaced across 25 cities in the country.

In Egypt, civil society organization’s work is still restricted by a draconian legislation that is disregards the African Commission’s standard and Egypt’s own Constitution. Several human rights defenders are being prosecuted on the grounds of the peaceful activities and investigation as well as judicial harassment into the work of independent human rights organizations is still ongoing.

The African Commission is urged to consider convening an open panel and interactive session on conflicts and human rights in Africa to open space for constructive wider consultation and discussion on strategies and make recommendations aimed at collectively responding to conflicts in Africa; and to use its powers under Article 58 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to draw the attention of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government to these cases.

Madame Chairperson, Members of the African Commission, Distinguished Guests

The 41 years of instability in Guinea Bissau, generated by numerous human rights violations and perpetuated by a culture of impunity for violations was another preoccupation for the Forum.

While recalling UN Security Resolution 2203 (2015), it is important that the levels of cooperation with UNIOGBIS is consolidated. The Forum urges the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ and its special mechanisms to pay attention to the situation of human rights in Guinea Bissau and to undertake country visits and missions to appraise themselves.

Madame Chairperson, Distinguished Ladies and  Gentlemen

The importance of fostering the involvement of Youth in the development and maintenance of democracy and nation building through inclusive and participation was a subject of discussion. We are all aware that the death toll of illegal migrants has reached dimensions beyond imagination, as the while the Mediterranean Sea has become an open grave preferable to African youths rather than to stay at home in Africa.

The hostile environment characterising the hazardous situation of human rights defenders, not to mention the shrinking space for interaction as reprisals are on the increase in many states; the precarious fate of the LGBTI with the continued persecution legitimised with the enactment of anti gay bills; the kidnapping, maiming, destruction and killing that has been the hallmark of terrorists and armed gangs, especially on women and girls in Nigeria; and the increase of counter terrorism bills restricting association and the work of human rights defenders to curb the rise in public protests with corresponding cases of freedom of assembly; the freedom of the press and the media under siege; the disturbing rise in religious persecution manifested in the massacre of over 140 students in Kenya; disappearances of human rights defenders and journalist in Angola, Cameroon and Zimbabwe. The list goes on but suffice it to say that latest wave of xenophobic attacks and killings in South Africa is among the most disturbing.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

The Forum reviewed in depth in over twelve thematic special interest groups, namely: the situation relating to Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons; Minorities and Indigenous Persons; Women, Reproductive Rights and Sexual Violence; Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity; the Death Penalty; the situation of Human Rights Defenders, especially Women Human Rights Defenders under terrorism law; Prevention of Torture; Ebola Virus Disease;  Impunity; and Freedom of the Press; Prison Conditions and Places of Detention; Rights of Older Person and Persons with Disabilities; Threats to Human Rights, Peace and Security in Africa; Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights Violations; Statelessness and the Right to a Nationality; Economic Social and Cultural Rights; Freedom of Association  and Assembly among others.

Most of the issues emerging from the main Panels and these Special Interest Groups meetings have formed the core of the developed resolutions and recommendations as a result of in-depth review and proposal of strategies for civil society engagement in collaboration with their partners, the African Commission in particular aimed at addressing the rising violations in their various areas of intervention.

Madam Chairperson, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

o In line with the objectives of the ACDHRS’ Networking for Human Rights in Africa session, which was geared towards the provision and sharing of more information between the three main partners i.e. the African Commission; States; and Civil Society, in the development and maintenance of  an  effective human rights community included

o Updates on the development the consultation on Reprisals as well as the activities of the Study Group on Freedom of Association and Assembly

Opportunities for networking and collaboration continue to be at the core of Forum. It was therefore worthy to note that networking and collaboration continues to be one of the objectives of the Forum. Relationships among civil society and between civil society and other partners especially the African Commission, National Human Rights Institutions, OHCHR and other partners were examined to consolidate on the strategies for effective collaboration between these groups with a common goal of promoting and protecting human rights in Africa.

The final panel provide a space for further exchange of information and experience on advocacy strategies around the ACHPR and formed a basis to share best practices and lessons learnt from previous interaction. It emerged that there are many strategies which can be used. However, it was pointed out that there is no one size fit all and thus it is crucial to think through situations in order to be more effective in our interventions.

Madam Chairperson, Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

The Forum, continue to appeal to states, which have not ratified pertinent treaties, to speedily do so in order to enable their implementation. The ratification of many regional and international instruments by many states was commended, however, the usual challenge of harmonisation and implementation of these treaties at the national level, remains.

The Forum would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the eight states that have submitted their reports for review by the African Commission and would like to single out

Malawi, which country is doing so for the first time. We would therefore, wish to urge other States who have not yet submitted fulfilled this obligation to follow this example as soon as is feasible.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

Permit me, Madam Chairperson, to restate our profound gratitude to the African Commission for the collaboration and support in the organisation and facilitation of  the NGO Forum, characterised by the existing interest enjoyed by the NGO community from the Secretariat of the African Commission, and particularly to the Secretary and the Legal Officers.. While we continue to urge as many of our participants in the wider community to apply for observer status to enable them play their role and benefit from the corresponding access provided by this great institution, we insist on their fulfilling their obligations to their constituencies and maintain a high level of credibility and engagement.

The Forum would wish to extend a congratulatory note to the African Union Commission for dedicating 2016 as the Year for Human Rights, with emphasis on the Rights of Women. As civil society stand ready to contribute and engage in this laudable process.

Madam Chairperson, Distinguished Commissioners,

I bring you congratulatory wishes from all the participants, for the number of missions and achievements registered during the last inter session, and for institutionalise the extraordinary sessions to deal with urgent matters relating to human rights on the continent. In the same vein, they would like to reiterate the availability and willingness as your partners, particularly those NGOs with Observer Status to continue to work in collaboration with the African Commission in a bid to complement your efforts to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, rule of law and good governance in Africa.

Madam Chairperson

On behalf of the participants of the Forum on the Participation of NGOs in the work of the 56th  session of the African Commission, allow me to wish you, Honourable Chairperson,,

our best wishes and to all the other Commissioners, a fruitful deliberation and a successful session.

Your Excellencies, Madam Chairperson, Hon. Members of ACHPR, Distinguished Guests, I thank you for your kind attention.

HJF / ACDHRS

Banjul, The Gambia April, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ends

TREC/001/4/2015: THEMATIC RECOMMENDATION ON THE RIGHTS OF OLDER PERSONS AND PEOPLE LIVING WITH DISABILITIES

TREC/001/4/2015: THEMATIC RECOMMENDATION ON THE RIGHTS OF OLDER PERSONS AND PEOPLE LIVING WITH DISABILITIES
We, the participants of the NGOs Forum preceding the 56th Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the 30th African Human Rights Book Fair held in Banjul, The Gambia from 17th to 19th April 2015;
Call upon the African Commission to:
1. Encourage Member States that have ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CPRD) to domesticate and implement it;
2. Encourage the Member Mtates to ratify the Marrakech treaty, which was adopted in June, 2013 so that persons with visual impairment and otherwise persons with print disabilities get access to published books or arts;
3. Urge NGOs and other human rights organizations to support Disabled Persons’ Organizations and other disability programmes in preparation of shadow reports on the CRPD;
4. Encourage Member States to have data on Children with Disabilities both in and out of school;
5. Call upon Member States to provide disaggregated data in their programme work and in particular in their reports in terms of gender, age and disability;
6. Encourage Member States to include disability rights in their country reports to the Commission;
7. Institute a study on the right to accessibility and reasonable accommodation for persons with disability in Africa.
8. Urge Member States to take responsibility on the rights of older persons within the framework of inclusive development.
Done in Banjul, The Gambia – 19th April, 2015

TRES/006/4/2015: RESOLUTION ON RIGHTS OF REFUGEES, ASYLUM SEEKERS AND IDPS

TRES/006/4/2015: RESOLUTION ON RIGHTS OF REFUGEES, ASYLUM SEEKERS AND IDPS
We, the participants of the Forum on the Participation of NGOs in the 56th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the 30th African Human Rights Book fair held in Banjul, The Gambia from 16th to 19th April 2015;
Call upon the African Commission to:
1. Urge Member States to develop legislative frameworks that protect refugees, asylum seekers and other migrants against discriminatory practices;
2. Urge Member States to provide special protection for vulnerable groups refugees;
3. Urge State parties to come up with both short and long term supportive and protective measures including durable solutions for displaced persons in their countries;
4. Urge State parties to implement international and regional instruments protecting refugees and IDPs especially the Kampala Convention;
5. Actively popularise regional and international instruments that will assist, protect and support refugees, asylum seekers, IDPs and other migrants;
6. Investigate and address all emerging cases of persecution of refugees;
7. Adopt a resolution urging State parties to ensure full protection of human rights and refugees rights in the process of combating terrorism.
Done in Banjul, The Gambia – 19th April, 2015

TRES/001/8/4/2015: Climate Change and Human Rights in Africa

TRES/001/8/4/2015: Climate Change and Human Rights in Africa
We, the participants of the Forum on the Participation of NGOs in the 56th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the 30th African Human Rights Book fair held in Banjul, The Gambia from 16th to 19th April 2015;
Bearing in mind the mandate of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (‘the Commission’) to promote human and peoples’ rights and ensure their protection in Africa under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (‘the African Charter’),
Recalling the Commission’s Resolution ACHPR/Res153(XLVI)09 on Climate Change and Human Rights and the Need to Study its Impacts in Africa, adopted at its 46th Ordinary Session on 25 November 2009 and the Commission’s Resolution ACHPR/Res271(LV)14 on Climate Change and Human Rights and the Need to Study its Impacts in Africa, adopted at its 55th Ordinary Session on 11 May 2014;
Recalling Resolution TRES/005/11/09 on the Effects of Climate Change on the Full Enjoyment of Human and Peoples’ Rights in Africa, adopted at the NGO Forum convened prior to the 46th Ordinary Session of the Commission on 9 November 2009;
Considering the provisions of Articles 22 and 24 of the African Charter relating to the right of peoples to economic, social and cultural development and the right of peoples to a satisfactory environment favourable to their development;
Considering the provisions of the United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which recognises the rights of indigenous peoples and communities to their ancestral lands, cultures, lifestyles and a safe satisfactory environment;
Considering that the UNFCCC obliges states Parties thereto to “… protect the climate system for the benefit of present and future generations of humankind, on the basis of equity and in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities”;
Noting that the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC, which include all African countries, are engaged in negotiations towards a new legally binding international agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and that proposals have been made to include human rights in the text;
Noting that the human right language proposed for the climate agreement does not reflect adequately the African perspective on human and peoples’ rights, especially the right to general satisfactory environment favourable to their development and the right to development;
Noting that African regional standards for the protection of the environment, management of natural resources and human and peoples’ rights are consistent with provisions of the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol, to which all African States are parties;
Concerned about the failure of developed country Parties to the UNFCCC to agree on ambitious targets for a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol or in the Agreement being negotiated for adoption by the Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC meeting for the 21st session in Paris, France from 1 to 11 December 2015;
Concerned about the detrimental impacts of warming predicted on the basis of voluntary pledges submitted by Parties to the UNFCCC, which in Africa could lead to temperature rises of more than 5 degrees Celsius;
Concerned about the absence of full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention through long-term cooperative action, including a lack of technology transfer and financial assistance for mitigation and adaptation, which are all necessary to safeguard human rights in Africa;
Reiterating the Commission’s concern that the lack of human rights safeguards in various draft texts under negotiation could put at risk the life, physical integrity and livelihood of the most vulnerable members of society including isolated indigenous and local communities, women, and other vulnerable social groups;
Call Upon the African Commission to:
1. Implement Resolution ACHPR/Res153(XLVI)09 by urgently requesting to the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union to:
2. Encourage its Member States to ensure that human rights safeguards, such as the principle of free, prior and informed consent, be included in any international agreement or instruments on climate change;
3. Encourage its Member States to ensure that special measure of protection for vulnerable groups such as children, women, the elderly, indigenous communities and victims of natural disasters and conflicts are included in any international agreement or instruments on climate change;
4. Take all necessary measures to ensure that the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights is included in the African Union’s delegation at the Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC meeting for the 21st session in Paris, France from 1 to 11 December 2015; and,
5. To urge Member States to take into account in all climate change negotiations the ‘study on the impact of climate change on human rights
in Africa’ that the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights should present to its 57th Ordinary Session.
Done in Banjul, The Gambia – 19 April 2015

TRES/005/4/2015 : RESOLUTION ON WOMEN HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN AFRICA

TRES/005/4/2015 : RESOLUTION ON WOMEN HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN AFRICA
We, the participants of the Forum on the Participation of NGOs in the 56th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the 30th African Human Rights Book fair held in Banjul, The Gambia from 16th to 19th April 2015; Recalling its mandate to promote and protect human and peoples’ rights in Africa in accordance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Charter);
Recalling further the Grand Bay Declaration and Plan of Action adopted by the first OAU Ministerial Conference on Human Rights in Africa held from 12 to 16 April 1999 in Grand Bay (Mauritius); and the Kigali Declaration adopted by the African Union Ministerial Conference on Human Rights in Africa held on 8 May 2003 in Kigali (Rwanda);
Reiterating the commitment made by Member States of the African Union in the Grand Bay Declaration to implement the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders;
Noting Resolutions ACHPR/69(XXXV) 04 on the protection of human rights defenders in Africa, ACHPR/Res.119 (XXXXII) 07 and ACHPR/Res.196 (L) 11 on the situation of human rights defenders in Africa;
Further noting Resolution ACHPR/Res.230 on the need for a study on the situation of women human rights defenders in Africa;
Welcoming the study on the Status of Women Human Rights Defenders to be launched on 23 April 2015;
Concerned about the increasingly challenging environment in which human rights defenders work, notably women human rights defenders, characterized by persistent and systematic arbitrary arrest and detention, acts of harassment, including judicial harassment, threats and other forms of intimidation, summary and extrajudicial executions, and torture, as well as gender-based violence;
Further concerned by the numerous legislative restrictions and obstacles on the activities of human rights defenders, including the criminalization of their activities, in particular those who collaborate with regional and international human rights promotion and protection institutions;
Noting that in many countries existing laws and policies at the local and national level serve as barriers to the full and equal participation of women in political and public life;
Alarmed about the specific threats and attacks faced by African women human rights defenders in their daily activities against the backdrop of increasing religious fundamentalism as well as the national security context in the measures taken by States to combat terrorism;
Convinced that the study on the situation of women human rights defenders and the recommendations contained therein will contribute to improving the precarious situation of the rights of women human rights defenders in Africa;
Further convinced that the study provides a framework for developing appropriate strategies for protecting women human rights defenders on the continent;
Call upon the African Commission to:
1. Urge States Parties to implement the recommendations of the study by:
2. Taking immediate steps to identify and eliminate all legal and political obstacles and barriers to the right to equality of women and their full and effective participation in public and political life;
3. Adopting a specific law to promote and protect women human rights defenders and their work in a broader framework for protecting and promoting all human rights, consistent with the principles contained in the UN Declaration on human rights defenders 1998, the Declaration of Grand Bay and the Kigali Declaration respectively;
4. Establishing an effective, independent, impartial national mechanism to prevent and address violations and discrimination against women human rights defenders and their families
5. Report back to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the progress of implementation during presentation of their periodic reports
Done in Banjul, The Gambia – 19th April, 2015

TRES/004/4/2015 –RESOLUTIONS ON THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN IN AFRICA

TRES/004/4/2015 –RESOLUTIONS ON THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN IN AFRICA
We, the participants of the Forum on the Participation of NGOs in the 56th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the 30th African Human Rights Book fair held in Banjul, The Gambia from 16th to 19th April 2015;
Recalling the African Union’s theme for the year 2015 of Women Empowerment and Development in the Realisation of Agenda 2063;
Acknowledging that the Maputo Protocol makes provision for the various rights of women in Africa and that States are required to report to the ACHPR on their obligations under the Protocol;
Concerned that women are subjected to tokenistic participation in key political and decision making spaces;
We the NGO participants,
Call Upon the African Commission to:
1. Call upon member states to protect and safeguard women and girl’s sexual and reproductive health rights, including but not exclusive to providing safe abortion services to women;
2. To review and repeal punitive laws relating to abortion; preventing forced sterilization and providing adolescent friendly sexual reproductive health education and services;
3. Call upon member States to adopt the African Union Land Policy and Initiative to promote women’s access to land and development;
4. Encourage member States to report on measures taken to enhance women’s representation and participation in political and decision making spaces;
5. Call upon States to put in place policies and laws to ensure that young adolescent girls are able to continue with their education in a safe and protective environment during and after pregnancy;
6. Encourage member States to ensure that women are actively involved at the inception, development and implementation of peace and mediation processes in Africa.
Done in Banjul, The Gambia – 19th April, 2015

TRES/003/4/2015: RESOLUTION ON THE RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION OF AFRICAN WORKERS

TRES/003/4/2015: RESOLUTION ON THE RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION OF AFRICAN WORKERS
We, the participants of the Forum on the Participation of NGOs in the 56th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the 30th African Human Rights Book fair held in Banjul, The Gambia from 16th to 19th April 2015; Considering that African workers in many countries are denied the right to form or join independent trade unions in law or in practice; Considering that trade union leaders and activists have suffered acts ofviolence by state security forces and private employers, including death, torture, arbitrary arrest and detention and threats for carrying out legitimate trade union activity, and that perpetrators of these crimes are rarely arrested or prosecuted; Considering that workers are routinely dismissed for their trade union activity and are denied effective recourse for this illegal retaliation; Considering that collective measures, such as pickets and strikes, are severely limited or banned in many countries; Considering that many workers in the informal economy are not covered at all by the labour codes of most countries in Africa; Consideringthat theabsence of workers’ rights creates a highly unequal relationship between workers and employers, with the latter trapped in low-wage, dangerous work; Recognising that trade union rights are human rights; Recognising that the large majority of African countries have ratified International Labour Organization Convention 87; Recognising that Article 10 of the African Charter protects the right to freedom of association for workers and their organizations; Call upon the African Commission to: a) Reaffirm that Article 10 of the African Charter, particularly in light of Articles 60 and 61 of same, isto be interpreted consistent with Convention 87 of the International Labour Organization (on the right to freedom of association and to organize)
b) Call on Member States to bring their laws and regulations into compliance with the right to freedom of association as soon as possible and to respect those laws in practice, as obligated by the international instruments which they have ratified or by virtue of their membership in the International Labour Organization; c) Regularly collaborate with the International Labour Organization to follow-up on the recommendations of the supervisory system relating to African member states as they relate to freedom of association; d) Work with trade unions to promote and protect the rights to freedom of association within the mandates of the African Commission; e) Ensure that the Study Group on Freedom of Association in Africa includes trade union representatives and that the scope of the study is expanded to include freedom of association in the trade union context; f) Organise a thematic hearing on the right to freedom of association in the trade union context during the October sitting of the African Commission in 2015;
Done in Banjul, The Gambia – 19th April, 2015

TRES/002/4/2015: RESOLUTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS AND TERRORISM LAWS IN AFRICA

TRES/002/4/2015: RESOLUTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS AND TERRORISM LAWS IN AFRICA
We, the participants of the Forum on the Participation of NGOs in the 56th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the 30th African Human Rights Book fair held in Banjul, The Gambia from 16th to 19th April 2015;
Adopting the definition of Human Rights Defenders contained in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect universally recognized in Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;
Recalling that Human Rights Defenders are men and women working for the promotion and protection of nationally, regionally and internationally recognized human rights, including those working on civil and political rights as well as economic, social and cultural rights through peaceful means;
Noting the African Commission Resolution No. ACHPR/69/(xxxx04) ACHPR/Res119(xxxxii)07 and ACHPR/Res196(1) on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders in Africa;
Recognising the resolution of the African Union calling on member States to adopt anti-terrorism laws to fight against terrorism;
Noting the need for the African Commission to keep information on number of people lost due to terrorism
Further recognising that there is no exceptional situation that justifies the prevention of work of Human Rights Defenders;
Taking into consideration the significant role that Human Rights Defenders, including Women Human Rights Defenders, play in the promotion and consolidation of peace, human rights, good governance, democracy and rule of law;
Deeply concerned about the personal risks and dangers Human Rights Defenders face, including harassment, cruel and degrading punishment, abductions, enforced disappearance, torture, intimidation, death threats, imprisonment, arbitrary arrests, malicious prosecutions, extrajudicial killings and detention in unauthorized detention centres;
Deeply concerned that Human Rights Defenders are, at times, subjected to public statements that dehumanise and demoralise them, including political persecution, vilification and constant surveillance;
Call upon the African Commission to:
1) Urge member States to guarantee that existing anti-terrorism legislation is not misused for the monitoring and restriction of the work of Human Rights Defenders;
2) Guarantee that the anti terrorism laws should addresses the issue of human rights violations in framework of the fight against terrorism in their states;
3) Put an end to arbitrary practices of labeling of individuals or groups as terrorists without offering them the possibility to challenge such assertions before a court of law;
4) Allow Human Rights Defenders to investigate systematically in their country without hindrance, all allegations of involvement of members of law enforcement
agencies in extrajudicial killings, acts of torture or enforced disappearances.
Done in Banjul, The Gambia – 19th April, 2015

TRES/001/4/2015: RESOLUTION ON PEACE AND SECURITY

TRES/001/4/2015: RESOLUTION ON PEACE AND SECURITY
We, the participants of the Forum on the Participation of NGOs in the 56th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the 30th African Human Rights Book fair held in Banjul, The Gambia from 16th to 19th April 2015;
Deeply concerned by the on-going conflict situations in South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of Congo;
Deeply concerned by reports of serious crimes under international law, and widespread violations of humanitarian and human rights law, including the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, being committed by all parties to the conflicts in these countries;
Considering that despite the existing regional normative and institutional frameworks for addressing conflicts, and threats of conflicts, in Africa, there seems to be serious limitations in coordinated responses to conflict threats, and human rights violations related to conflicts in Africa;
Noting that the Commission’s performance and capacity to champion a human rights approach to conflict prevention, management and resolution is yet to be fully realised;
Call upon the African Commission to:
1. Develop a comprehensive and decisive strategy for addressing conflict-related human rights violations in Africa;
2. In relation to the on-going armed conflicts in Africa and the serious human rights violations associated with these conflicts, utilise its powers under Article 58 of the African Charter on Human & Peoples’ Rights to ‘draw the attention of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government to these special cases’;
3. work with the special interest group on Peace and Security, which is hereby established as focal point for NGOs, to coordinate further discussions and reflections amongst NGOs and the Commission during the inter-session period, by designating a Special Mechanism or Commissioner, with the aim of developing recommendations and strategies for enhancing the role of the African Commission in responding to conflicts in Africa;
4. Further work towards bringing a wider group of NGOs and other stakeholders into this discussion during the inter-session period, and specifically commit to convening a consultative workshop on the margins of the upcoming Assembly of the AU Heads of States;
5. Consider using civil society expertise in developing an action plan for enhancing the Commission’s role in responding to on-going and emerging conflicts in Africa, including in strengthening its coordination mechanisms with the African Union, the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, and other relevant sub-regional bodies in Africa;
6. Convene an open panel and interactive session on conflicts and human rights in Africa in its agenda for the 57th Ordinary Session of the Commission, in order to open space for wider discussion and the adoption of more effective strategies to respond to conflicts in Africa;
Done at Banjul, The Gambia – 19 April 2015