TRES/004/4/12: Resolution on Freedom of Expression in Somalia

We, the participants at the NGO Forum preceding the 51st Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and 25th African Human Rights Book Fair held from 14th – 16th April, 2012 in Banjul, The Gambia;

Recognizing that the effective exercise of the right to freedom of expression is an important indicator of the level of protection of other human rights and freedoms, bearing in mind that all human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated;

Emphasizing that freedom of expression is a fundamental human right guaranteed on the one hand by Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and on the other hand, by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (in particular, in its Article 19), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (in particular, in its Article 19) and other treaties, resolutions, international instruments and national constitutions;

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

Welcoming regional and international efforts to restore peace, and stability in Somalia, and to combat impunity, to uphold fundamental human rights and to hold accountable individuals accused of planning, executing, condoning or encouraging the commission of human rights abuses;

Concerned that the Somali people are denied their fundamental human rights and dignity as enshrined in African Charter of Human and People’s Rights and other international human rights mechanisms;

Noting that violence in Somalia remains a powerful influence that enforces a culture of silence and impunity as the violence and fear of violence affects the work of journalists and the enjoyment of freedom of expression and fundamental human rights;

Deeply concerned that violations of the right to freedom of expression continue to occur, including increased attacks directed against, and killings of, journalists, and stressing the need to ensure greater protection for all journalists;

Apprehensive of the grave reality that Somalia is the most dangerous place in Africa today for journalists and other media workers, and that since January 2012 four journalists have been killed in targeted attacks;

We call upon the African commission to do the following:

  • To urge the Somali authorities and international community to establish and     support an independent commission of enquiry or alternative independent      mechanism to conduct thorough and independent investigations into all instances of violence and threats of violence against Somali journalists, including soaring cases of murder, and bring those responsible to justice;
  • To condemn criminal acts against journalists and the right of freedom of     expression, and take appropriate actions to end the hostility to independent media    and to hold the violators of journalists rights accountable.

Done in Banjul – 16th April, 2012

 

TRES/003/04/12: Resolution on Freedom of Expression and Protection of Journalists in Africa

We participants to the NGO Forum in the 51st Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and 25th African Human Rights Book Fair held from 14th-16 April, 2012 in Banjul, The Gambia

Conscious that Freedom of Expression plays a vital role in the effective enjoyment of all other human rights and conscious that the assuring safety and security of journalists forms an integral part of the protection of the rights to information

Horrified by the killing of four journalists in Somalia these last five months

Denouncing the increasing of physical attacks of journalists/media houses by both state agents and non-state agents in African state like Tunisia, Guinea Conakry, Angola, Sudan, Senegal, Mali, Guinea Bissau

Noting that these physical attacks are systematic in critical periods or situations such as of electoral campaigns, demonstrations, coups, etc.

Concerned by the persistence of lawsuits against journalists affiliated and human rights activists in most African countries as it is the case in Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, in Zimbabwe

Noting that these lawsuits are favoured by the existence in these countries of inadequate legal frameworks touching to freedom of expression and access to information

Further concerned by the prevalence of illegal arrests and detentions of journalists on the continent, namely in The Gambia, Côte d’Ivoire and in Eritrea where 32 journalists are still in jail with some of them reported dead

Noting that journalists continue to be seriously threaten, discredited, humiliated or impoverished in relation to their work by the state machinery using comprehensive systems to weaken or suppress independent journalism as it is the case in Ethiopia and Burundi where terrorism charges are used against journalists; in Sudan with the government security agents systematically raided private media houses after publication and confiscated large publication forcing these media houses to lose lot of revenue while at the same time prosecuting journalists . In the same vein the government is also buying out some of the private media, with a mission to entirely change the editorial line and focus. Journalists are specifically targeted and attacked with impunity while covering demonstrations.

Recalling the 2002 Declaration on Principles of Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa and previous resolutions, particularly the 2011 resolution on freedom of expression, access to information and protection of journalists

We recommend the African Commission to:

  • To follow up on the effective application of the Declaration and resolutions by facilitating country visits of the Special Rapporteur on FoE/AI in the countries mentioned
  • To urge African states to stop killings, physical attacks, malicious and illegal lawsuits against journalists as well as the any other machinery geared towards the suppression of freedom of expression
  • To urge African Union member States to engage in transforming state broadcasters into independent public media that are free from any type of interference
  • To urge African states to adopt access to information laws

Done in Banjul- 16th April, 2012

TREC/001/4/12: Recommendation on Freedom of Expression and Protection of Journalists in The Gambia

We the participants at the NGO Forum preceding the 51st Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) and the 25th African human Rights Book fair held from 14th-16 April, 2012 in Banjul, The Gambia

Conscious that Freedom of Expression plays a vital role in the effective enjoyment of all other human rights and conscious that the assuring safety and security of journalists forms an integral part of the protection of the rights to information

Noting with sadness that the State of The Gambia continues to regulate freedom of expression and access to information in the country by means of a legal framework made of laws (official secrets act, media laws, criminal code with offences of sedition, false information, defamation, etc.) that fail to meet international applicable standards as well as the Gambian constitution

Drawing the attention of the Commission to the blocking of internet news sites by the government in the Gambia

Deeply concerned by the fact that The Gambia does not have in its current cabinet a Minister in charge of information whose role is vital in the effective implementation of freedom of expression and related rights

Recalling previous Resolutions of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights relative to the situation of freedom of expression and the protection of journalists in The Gambia, particularly Resolution No. ACHPR/Res. 134 (XXXXIV) 2008 adopted at its 44th Ordinary Session held in Abuja, Nigeria, from 10 to 24 November 2008 and the 2011 Resolution on freedom of expression, access to information and Protection of journalists in Africa (ACHPR/Res.178 (XLIX) 2011)

Appalled that while recommendations made to the Gambia by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights have yet to be addressed by the State of The Gambia, violations of freedom of expression have unfortunately amplified in scope, type, nature and number despite the fact that this country hosts the primarily human rights monitoring body in Africa,

We urge the African Commission to:

  • Appeal to The Gambia Government to urgently engage in a comprehensive media law reform  by repealing all draconian laws, especially the criminal defamation, false news and sedition provisions to comply with the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa;
  • Grant access to  the Special Rapporteur on FoE/Access to Information in Africa to visit The Gambia and proceed on a fact finding mission and dialogue with all the stakeholders;
  • Urge the Government of The Gambia to immediately release Chief Ebrima Manneh; and
  • Conduct an independent and impartial enquiry on the murder of Deyda Hydara.

Done in Banjul – 16 April, 2012

CRES/001/10/2011: Résolution sur les prochaines élections en République démocratique du Congo

Le Forum de participation des ONG réuni à Banjul (Gambie) du 19 au 21 octobre 2011 à l’occasion de la 50ème session ordinaire de la Commission africaine des droits de l’Homme et des peuples (CADHP)

Considérant la tenue le 28 novembre 2011 de l’élection présidentielle en RDC et des fortes tensions qui entourent le processus électoral et soucieux de l’exercice d’un processus électoral transparent, crédible et apaisé, conforme aux dispositions de la Charte africaine des droits de l’Homme et des peuples;

Condamnant la répression brutale et répétée par les forces de l’ordre de manifestations pacifiques organisées par des partis politiques d’opposition appelant à la transparence du processus électoral;

Préoccupé par l’impunité des forces de l’ordre ayant agi de manière disproportionnée en violation du droit international des droits de l’Homme;

Préoccupé par le refus de la Commission Electorale Nationale Indépendante de procéder à un audit du fichier électoral pourtant source de contestation des partis d’opposition;

Préoccupé par les accusations respectives faisant état d’armement de milices par le parti présidentiel et les partis d’opposition;

Préoccupé par la campagne électorale précoce de certains partis commencée antérieurement à l’ouverture officielle le 28 octobre;

Préoccupé par la multiplication des violences physiques ou verbales contre les journalistes et inquiet dans ce contexte pour la sécurité des défenseurs des droits de l’Homme qui analysent la régularité du processus électoral ;

Préoccupé par les appels au séparatisme, à la violence et à la xénophobie lancés par certains hauts dirigeants politiques ;

Le Forum de participation des ONG réuni à Banjul (Gambie) du 19 au 21 octobre 2011 à l’occasion de la 50ème session ordinaire de la Commission africaine des droits de l’Homme et des peuples recommande à la CADHP d’adopter une résolution appelant

Les autorités de la RDC à

    • Ratifier la Charte africaine sur la démocratie, les élections et la gouvernance et se conformer à leurs obligations aux termes de la Charte africaine des droits de l’homme et des peuples, de la déclaration de l’UA sur les principes régissant les élections démocratiques en Afrique et les autres lignes directrices régionales et nationales en matière d’élections;
    • Garantir l’indépendance de l’organisme chargé de la gestion des élections avant, pendant et après la tenue de toute élection;
    • Prendre les mesures nécessaires pour que les éléments des forces de l’ordre auteur de violations des droits de l’Homme soient poursuivis et jugés conformément aux dispositions de la Charte africaine des droits de l’Homme et des peuples;
    • Respecter l’état de droit et l’indépendance des institutions telles que les tribunaux qui sont essentielles à la réalisation d’élections libres et équitables en Afrique;
    • Faire en sorte que les partis et les candidats qui participent aux élections

aient un accès équitable aux médias d’Etat, pendant les élections;

    • Garantir l’intégrité physique et psychologique des journalistes et défenseurs des droits de l’Homme.
    • Prendre toutes les mesures nécessaires,y compris judiciaires, pouyr mettre un terme aux appels au séparatisme, à la violence et à la xénophobie.

Les partis politiques et tous les candidats à

    • Respecter les lois et règlements électoraux y compris le processus légal de contestation des résultats de toute élection ;
    • Mettre l’intérêt général du peuple, de l’électorat, au centre du processus électoral.

Fait à Banjul, Gambie le 21 octobre, 2011

 

Resolution on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in Burundi

The Forum for the Participation of NGOs at the 49th African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights Session, meeting in Banjul (The Gambia), from 25 to 27 April 2011,

Condemning the assassination on the night of 8 to 9 April 2009 of Ernest Manirumva, former vice-president of the Observatory for the Fight against Corruption and Economic Embezzlement (OLUCOME) and deploring that due to delays in judicial proceedings, more than two years later, the exact circumstances of the murder are yet to be revealed;

Condemning the multiple acts of intimidation and other forms of pressure from the authorities in Burundi against representatives of civil society calling for full light to be shed on the exact circumstances of the murder of Ernest Manirumva especially the repeated acts of intimidation against Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, president of the Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detained Persons (APRODH), Pacifique Nininahazwe, managing director of Forum for the Strengthening of Civil Society (FORSC), Gabriel Rufyiri, president of OLUCOME, and his family and Irambona Claver, a member of OLUCOME;

Deploring the violent dispersal, on April 8 2011, of a peaceful march held in remembrance of Ernest Manirumva’s assassination held in Bujumbura by several NGOs and the subsequent arrest by the police, of Gabriel Rufyiri and Irambona Claver;

Strongly condemning the indictment issued on April 13 2011, by the Deputy Prosecutor of Bujumbura, seeking the life sentence against journalist Jean-Claude Kavumbagu, editor of the online newspaper NetPress, imprisoned since 17 July 2010 for publishing an article questioning the ability of the Burundian security forces to prevent an attack on Somali Islamist group Al Shabab;

Recalling that several other journalists in Burundi, including Elyse Ngabire and Dieudonné Hakizimana of the newspaper Iwacu and Thierry Ndayishimiye of the newspaper Arc-en-ciel have been arrested and temporarily detained for their journalistic activities;

Regretting the expulsion in June 2010 of the representative of Human Rights Watch, in response to the publication of a report on the pre-election political violence;

Recalling the resolutions ACHPR/Res.69 (XXXV) 04, ACHPR (XXXXI) 06 and ACHPR/Res.119 (XXXXII) 07 on protection and human rights defenders of human rights in Africa;

The Forum for the Participation of NGOs at the 49th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights request the ACHPR to consider adopting at this 49th Session a resolution:

Condemning acts of threats and harassment currently targeting human rights defenders  in defiance of the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights;

Calling on the Judiciary in Burundi to determine, as soon as possible, the truth about the exact circumstances of the murder of Ernest Manirumva and try those suspected of involvement in his murder;

Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of journalist Jean-Claude Kavumbagu;

Urging the Burundian authorities to carry out transparent and independent investigations into all cases of violations against human rights defenders, and bring offenders to trial before independent courts;

Deciding to send, in accordance with its mandate, a mission to promote human rights in Burundi, in order to meet the authorities, political parties of the opposition, civil society organizations and representatives of the international community and address the concerns and recommendations contained in this resolution.

 

Resolution on Freedom of Expression and Protection of Journalists

We, Participants at the NGO Forum in preparation of the 48th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights; from 7th – 9th Nov. 2010, in Banjul, The Gambia,

Considering that the situation of freedom of expression in Africa drastically deteriorated in 2010;

Considering that article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights guarantees freedom of expression;

Considering the Declaration of Principles on the Freedom of Expression in Africa which proclaims that freedom of expression is a ‘fundamental right’ and includes ‘the right to receive information and express one’s opinions’;

Considering the Declaration of Principles on the Freedom of Expression in Africa which provides that states shall review all criminal restrictions on content to ensure that they serve a legitimate interest in a democratic society;

Considering the importance of freedom of expression and its direct relation to other fundamental freedoms;

Recognizing the increasing momentum of the movement of freedom of expression community in Africa;

Considering the role of the media and journalists in promoting the right to free expression and expanding the boundaries of free speech;

Deeply concerned about:

  • Increased and continued killings of journalists and associated media personnel in Africa, particularly in Somalia, Nigeria, Angola, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • The diminishing independence of the judiciary and its detrimental consequences on  Freedom of Expression (FOE) and media rights in many African Countries, particularly in Tunisia, The Gambia, Burundi, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo;
  • The existence, continuous enactment and use of repressive media laws such as false news, seditious libel, criminal defamation, emergency and terrorism laws in many African countries, including the protection of information and privacy laws in South Africa;
  • The increasing pressure on journalists to disclose their source of information;
  • The emerging and sophisticated tactics used by governments to repress free expression and the rights of media practitioners such as pressure exerted on media owners and editors;
  • The deteriorating state of freedom of expression and of the press in Tunisia, particularly the worsening health of imprisoned journalist Fahem Boukaddous who is at the verge of death.

Condemning in the strongest terms possible:

  • The harassments, threats, intimidations, arbitrary arrests, illegal detentions, kidnapping, beatings, jailing and censorship of journalists particularly in Eritrea, Egypt, The Gambia, Togo, Cameroon, Tunisia, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Somalia;
  • The attempt by the South African Government to create a statutory media regulatory body as well as the Protection of Information Bill which if passed without amendments will have excessive punitive measures for anyone found in possession of classified information.

Supporting:

  • Existing self-regulatory bodies and any other initiatives to set up such bodies in African Union member states according to Article 9 of the Banjul Declaration on Freedom of Expression;

Commending:

  • The African Union Commission (AUC) in cooperating with the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) in promoting safety and protection of African journalists;
  • The government of Liberia for the passage of a Right to Information Act;
  • All governments that have repealed seditious libel and criminal defamation laws;

Welcoming the African Union Commission’s stance on promoting press freedom illustrated by the Commission’s statement marking the World Press Freedom day on 3 May 2010;

Endorsing the outcome of the continental Workshop on Safety and Protection of African Journalists organized by the Federation of African Journalists and the department of Communications and Information of the African Union Commission in collaboration with ARTICLE 19 and International Trade Union Confederation – African Regional Organization (ITUC-Africa) in September 2010 in Addis Ababa;

We hereby call on the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to:

1. Pressurize member States of the African Union to probe all violent actions against journalists which have occurred in their territories when their armed or security forces may have been involved in them;

2. Urge the African Union and its member states to adopt the proposed resolution on safety and protection of African journalists in the upcoming African Union summit.

3. African Union member States to execute the duty incumbent upon them to thwart crimes against journalists and investigate alleged perpetrators of this heinous crimes and bring them to justice; and to offer witness protection for those testifying against perpetrators;

4. Take all necessary measures to ensure that member states comply with their obligations under the African Charter and the Declaration of Principles on the Freedom of Expression in Africa;

5. Call on member states of the African Union to release all prisoners of conscience imprisoned for peaceful exercise of their rights of expression, assembly and association;

6. Call for the intervention of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information and the Chair of the Commission to provide technical support and guidance to South Africa in its deliberation on these potential threats to Freedom of Expression;

7. Endorse the Declaration of Table Mountain (DTM) adopted by World Editors of Newspapers-IFRA in Cape Town in 2007 to repeal in all African Countries insult and criminal defamation laws.

8. Call upon members states of the African Union to ensure the passage of a Right to Information (RTI) law;

9. Call upon member states of the African Union to respect the provisions of their various constitutions with regards to the independence of the judiciary and separation of powers;

10. Put pressure on African Union member states to release all journalists and other Free Expression advocates in detention and make the safety and protection of journalists a priority;

11. Convene in the next session of the African Commission of Human and Peoples Rights a high level panel on freedom of expression and protection of journalists;

12. Encourage African governments to respect the plurality of the print media and allow state broadcasters to operate as true independent public service broadcasters.

 

Done at Banjul, November 9th, 2010

Resolution on Freedom of Expression

We, the participants to the NGO Forum in preparation of the 47th ordinary session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights,

Deeply concerned about the state of freedom of expression and freedom of information is considerably deteriorating in Africa;

Worried about the grave reality that Somalia is the most dangerous place in Africa today for journalists and other media workers, and that since January 2009 ten journalists have been killed in targeted attacks;

Concerned about the incessant emasculation of media and journalists rights and to the freedom of expression in Uganda where the government authorities have continued to violate the rights of journalists and the media in the past two years;

Deeply disheartened and disturbed by the situation of freedom of expression and the journalists rights in Eritrea that take the pride in jailing and detaining journalists incommunicado since 2001;

Very depressed about increasingly repressive situation of journalists in Cameroon and Zimbabwe that threatens enjoyment of fundamental human rights of freedom of expression which led grave violations of free press in Zimbabwe and Cameroon;

Concerned about the suppression of freedom of expression and press freedom in Tunisia despite the highly elaborate legislative and institutional architecture in the country;

Further deeply concerned about repression of the freedom to express, choose, impart and share on religious believes;

We urge the commission to:

1. Express its solidarity with the hapless Somali journalists and to condemn, in no uncertain terms, the continued and perilous violence against journalists and other media workers in Somalia.

2. Call upon the government of Uganda to demonstrate its stated commitment to freedom of expression, democracy and to immediately end attacks on the right to freedom of expression and of the press including the ban on media houses and live radio debate programmes.

3. Put pressure on the Gambian government to produce journalist Chief Ibrahim Manneh and to investigate the killing of Deyda Hydara

4. Demand member States to abolish all draconian laws that curtail the right to freedom of expression and of the press as stipulated in the African charter, to encourage member States to immediately enact laws of freedom of information and to decriminalise all media offenses.

5. Play the leader’s role by taking appropriate actions that would lead to the unconditional and immediate release of the journalists from prisons in Eritrea.

6. Demand Cameroonian authorities to immediately end attacks on the media and provide an independent and reliable report on the death of Bibi Ngota who died in pre-trail detention.

7. Implement the recommendations on Zimbabwe that was adopted by the commission during the 46th session requesting the special rapportuer on freedom of expression to conduct a fact-finding and investigative mission to Zimbabwe and to repeal article 79 and 80 of Access to information and protection of privacy act (AIPPA).

8. Convene a high-level panel on the protection of journalists in Africa in the 48th session of the African Commission of Human and People’s Rights.

9. Conduct a fact finding mission to Tunisia for an objective and documented assessment of the situation of a pluralistic and independent media, freedom of association, the independence of the judiciary and the detention of prisoners of opinion.

10. Put pressure on all governments and armed groups to adhere and respect their international obligations to bring to an end the culture of impunity, to foster lasting peace and the rule of law, and to bring to an end the fear of journalists to be killed, tortured, injured, kidnapped and being held hostage, especially in conflict areas.

 

Done at Banjul, May 10th, 2010

Resolution on the Situation in Ethiopia

We, participants of the Forum on the Participation of NGOs in the 47th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Banjul, The Gambia,

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

Recalling the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the 1998 United Nations (UN) Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders), the 1999 Grand Bay Declaration and Plan of Action, the 2003 Kigali Declaration and all the legal instruments which guarantee the right of defenders of human rights;

Further considering Ethiopia’s Constitution which guarantees amongst other rights, freedom of assembly, association and expression and recalling its obligations under the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders;

Deeply concerned by the ongoing harassment, intimidation, arbitrary arrests and prosecution of human rights defenders ever since the contested elections of 2005;

Deeply concerned by the highly restrictive Charities and Societies Proclamation, which was passed by the Ethiopian Parliament in January 2009 which undermines the activities of human rights defenders in the country and thwart the effective functioning of human rights organisations in the country;

Deploring the restrictions, both legislative and administrative, imposed on the private media by the Ethiopian authorities and an increase in the cases of harassment of private media journalists and censorship in governmental media;

Expressing concern for the recently passed Anti-Terrorism Proclamation notably its broad definition of terrorism, terrorist acts and the sweeping powers it gives to the police and the lack of judicial oversight mechanisms that risk to criminalise peaceful political protests as well as further restrict freedom of expression;

Deeply concerned that the Charities and Societies Proclamation and the Anti-Terrorism legislation are imposing a chilling effect on human rights activities and are silencing human rights defenders;

Noting that harassment and intimidation of human rights defenders undermines efforts to bring ongoing human rights violations, notably in the run up to the general elections on 23 May 2010, to the attention of the international community and risks to undermine the fairness and freeness of the elections;

Hereby call on the ACHPR to take all necessary measures to pass a resolution:

1. Encouraging the Ethiopian authorities to repeal the Charities and Societies Proclamation or to significantly amend it, notably provisions under article 2 defining Ethiopian Charities and Resident Charities, and Article 14 that excludes organisations receiving more than 10% of their funding from foreign sources from working in areas including human rights in order to ensure an enabling environment for human rights organisations;

2. Calling on the Ethiopian authorities to amend the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation to ensure that it complies with the country’s national, regional and international human rights responsibilities;

3. Calling on the Ethiopian authorities to end all practices which threaten freedom of expression and prevent human rights defenders and particularly journalists from pursuing their legitimate work;

4. Calling on the Ethiopian government to recognize the importance of the participation of civil society organisations in particular human rights defenders in all state party reporting processes to international and regional human rights bodies;

5. Calling on the Ethiopian authorities to carry out  prompt, impartial, effective and independent investigations into all cases of human rights violations, both past and present, particularly those affecting human rights defenders and most notably the human rights abuses which took place in the aftermath of the general elections 2005;

6. Calling on the Ethiopian government to recognise and officially accredit local independent civil society organisations to observe the general elections on 23 May 2010;

7. Encouraging the Ethiopian authorities to allow for independent and unimpeded access by national and international human rights groups and the media to regions of particular concern;

8. Calling on African Union member States to support initiatives by HRDs in Ethiopia aimed at strengthening their position, notably through join initiatives and networks;

9. Recommending to AU member States that all forthcoming assistance to the Ethiopian government from the African Union, notably given its key position, should ensure human rights accountability.

 

Done in Banjul, May 10th, 2010

Recommendation on “Freedom of Expression”

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