We the participants at the Forum on the Participation of NGOs the 32nd Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the 6th African Human Rights Book Fair, held at the Kairaba Beach Hotel in Banjul from October 14th-16th, 2002
Considering the high number of armed conflicts, and the emergence of new conflicts, in Africa;
Considering the serious humanitarian consequences of these conflicts on the civilian population in terms of the number of lives lost, and of persons wounded, disappeared, detained, and internally displaced or made refugees, and considering in particular the repercussions of conflicts on vulnerable groups such as women, children and minorities;
Welcoming certain positive developments towards the resolution of conflicts on the continent, as well as the opportunities for the future created by the reinforcement of collective action mechanisms aimed at protecting the rights of victims of armed conflict within the framework of the African Union;
Recalling the Resolution adopted in 1993 by the 14th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which invited African States to implement and disseminate international humanitarian law and human rights;
Recalling the Resolution adopted in 2002 by the 13th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which invited African States to implement and disseminate international humanitarian law and human rights;
We call upon the African states to:
Adopt all necessary measures to promote understanding of international humanitarian law, international human rights law, and international refugee law, in particular by armed and security forces, parliamentarians, and political decision-makers;
Implement the treaties of international humanitarian law, human rights law, and refugee law by adopting all appropriate legal and practical measures;
Suppress all violations of these instruments, and in particular prosecute and punish individuals for serious violations of International Humanitarian Law and of human rights on the basis of universal jurisdiction;
Ratify or accede to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and take the required implementing measures;
Afford special attention to the problem of child-soldiers, by ratifying and implementing the 1999 African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and the 2000 Optional Protocol of the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict.
Moreover, States are invited to support efforts deployed at the international, regional or national levels to achieve the durable resolution of conflicts (including demobilisation of all armed groups) and in doing so to re-establish the foundation for full respect of fundamental human rights.
Done in Banjul, The Gambia 16th October 2002