We, the participants of the NGO Forum preceding the 41st Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the 15th African Human Rights Book Fair, held at the Coconut Grove Hotel, Accra, from 12 – 14 May 2007,
Recognizing that the provisions of the Constitutive Act of the African Union require the promotion and protection of human rights and obligates member states to promote the socio economic development of Africa and raise the standard of living of African people;
Further recognizing that the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights in its preamble, affirms the right to development and that civil and political rights cannot be disassociated from economic, social and cultural rights in their conception as well as universality and the satisfaction of economic, social and cultural rights is interdependent from for the enjoyment of civil and political rights;
Further recalling that the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights guarantees the protection and promotion of individual and collective rights;
Further recalling that international and regional standards including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights expressly states in Article 21 that all peoples shall freely dispose of their wealth and natural resources, which shall be exercised in the exclusive interest of the people, and in no case shall the people, be deprived of it and in case of spoliation, the dispossessed people shall have a right to lawful recovery of its properties as well as to an adequate compensation;
Also recalling that the African Charter states in Article 24 that all people shall have the right to a general satisfactory environment favourable to their development;
Deeply concerned that continuing spoliation of natural resources by African States and their agents as well as trans-national corporations have resulted in serious and systematic violations of human rights especially economic, social and cultural rights of people, including the right to education, to health, to food and to adequate housing;
Also concerned that the practice of unlawful exploitation and theft of natural resources has fuelled many conflicts in Africa resulting in unlawful killing, rape, displacement and other serious human rights abuses;
Also concerned that the adequate legal framework to address the problems associated with spoliation and extraction of natural resources by states and their agents and transnational corporations have left victims without effective remedy;
Hereby call, on the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to adopt a resolution to:
1. Condemn the pattern of human rights violations resulting from extractive sector activity, in particular mining, oil, gas, fisheries and timber by state and non state actors including multinational companies in Africa.
2. Appoint a Special Working Group on Natural Resource Exploitation and Human Rights to work with civil society to investigate into the human rights violation in Africa’s natural resource exploitation.
Done in Accra, May 14th, 2007