We, the participants meeting at the Forum on the Participation of NGOs in the 41st Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights between 12th and 14th May 2007, state as follows:
Considering the situation of HRDs in Africa and in particular, the countries of Zimbabwe, Guinea, Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, parties the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights of 1986,
Recalling the UN Declaration of Human Rights Defenders of 1998, the Grand Baie plan of action and Declaration of 1999 and the Kigali Declaration of 2003;
Further considering the obligations of member states under the aforementioned instruments, particularly to ensure the rights of human rights defenders to assemble, associate, express themselves and participate in the government of the country and the conduct of public affairs;
Deeply concerned by the recent events in Zimbabwe in which human rights defenders have been subjected to arbitrary arrests, unlawful detention, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, denial of access to lawyers, medical treatment and food in custody, and extra-judicial executions;
Deeply concerned by events in Guinea in which human rights defenders have been subjected to arbitrary arrests, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment and extra judicial killings.
Deeply concerned by events in Somalia in which prominent human rights defenders have been killed and in which journalists and media houses have been attacked,
Deeply concerned with events in Ethiopia where several HRDs including journalists are still under detention,
Deeply concerned with events in Sudan where the situation of HRDs remains unpredictable especially with the Darfur crisis getting worse by the day,
Noting the harassment and intimidation of human rights defenders and the particular vulnerability of human rights defenders working on issues such as sexual orientation, gender identity and women’s rights,
Hereby resolve to call upon the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to adopt a Resolution:
1. Calling upon governments of member states to desist from harassing, intimidating, assaulting, arresting, detaining and killing human rights defenders in their respective countries ;
2. Condemning the increasing violence and human rights violations perpetrated against human rights defenders in Zimbabwe, Guinea, Somalia, Ethiopia and Sudan;
3. Insisting on an environment where the independence of the legal profession will not be compromised in anyway;
4. Urging all member states and in particular, Zimbabwe, Guinea, Somalia, Ethiopia and Sudan to comply with their obligations as articulated in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Principles and Guidelines on the Right to A Fair Trial and Legal Assistance in Africa, the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders ; the Grand Baie and Kigali Declarations and other international human rights instruments;
5. Imploring member states to ensure the protection of human rights defenders particularly those working on issues of women’s rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, against any violence, threat, retaliation, discrimination, pressure and any other arbitrary action perpetrated by the state or by non state actors in response to their human rights activities.
6. Calling upon the African Union to encourage member states to implement the recommendations of the African Commission.
Done in Accra, 14th May, 2007