TREC/001/11/15: THEMATIC RECOMMENDATION ON FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND ACCESS TO INFORMATION
We, the participants of the Forum on the Participation of NGOs in the 57thOrdinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the 31st African Human Rights Book fair held in Banjul, The Gambia from 31st October–2nd November 2015;
Note and recognize that situations such as election processes and during conflicts evidence violations of freedoms of expression;
Recognize vulnerable groups amongst women and women with disabilities in 2016 as they commemorate the year of human rights with a special focus on women and specifically looking at the rights to freedom of expression and access to information;
Hereby recommend that the African Commission:
- to require Member States to allocate resource to programmes that support the rights.
- Call for African Members States to observe the provisions of African Charter and principles on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information.
- Require Member states to pass and effectively implement Access to Information laws in line with the recommendations of the Commission and the AU Model Law on Access to Information.
- Providing guidelines on implementation digital surveillance and digital privacy.
- Urge Member States to decriminalize criminal defamation provisions in national legislation.
- Urge Member States to ratify, domesticate and implement effectively the African Charter on Democracy, elections and good governance.
- Ensure that Member States harmonize all laws that impact freedoms of expression and information to conform to international and regional standards.
- Urge Member States to implement existing recommendations on the effective protection of human rights defenders against harassment or persecution.
- Urge Member States to take measures against impunity of perpetrators of violations of freedoms of expression and information.
- Call for the release and or dropping of charges of journalists being prosecuted due to exercising their rights to expression especially under criminal defamation provisions.
Done in Banjul, The Gambia – 2nd November, 2015