TRES\004\11\2015: THEMATIC RESOLUTION ON THE SADC REGION
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;
Concerned that while the overall picutre of the SADC region is retrogressing, some countries in the region have registered some positives gains, yet some of these positive gains are being threatened;
Cognizance of the fact that the region has been going through many crisis that emerge because of lack of compliance with the basic rights guaranteed in the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, the rule of law, access to justice, poverty draconian laws that restrict multi-party system, trade unions and civil Society
Coupled with the resistance to participation of CSOs in regional integration programs which remains a key concern that CSOs, Human Rights Defenders continue to face;
The NGOs Forum calls upon the African Commission to adopt a Resolution on the following SADC countries as follows:
Concerns over state’s interference and intimidation of human rights defenders with the recent detention of 15+2 activists, journalists and women human rights defenders
Concerns over the current draft new law which is aimed at restricting the work of human rights defenders and Civil Society.
Commend Malawi government for its maiden appearance for the review of its state report at the 56th session of the African Commissions on Human and Peoples Rights,
Concerns over the politicization of the Malawi NGO board and through the use of NGO law– whose origins, lest we forget, was to stifle opposition to a third term bid of former President Bakili Muluzi – to restrict and stifle the civil society space especially against “human rights defenders” deemed critical of government,
Concerns over Malawi government’s use of the Special Advisor to the President on NGOs and Civil Society and the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) to destabilize and stifle the Civil Society space and activities, as well as instilling fear and intimidation in the operations of human rights defenders,
Concerns over the politicization of the state-run Malawi Broadcasting Corporation against human rights defenders, opposition leaders and critics of government,
Cncerns over Malawi government’s failure to condemn and investigate the recent threats against human rights defenders, journalists, and opposition politicians
Concerns over the hostile political climate and environment which is not conducive to political tolerance;
Concerns over the detention of 20 opposition members as well as deteriorating violations of women’s rights, shrinking democratic and rule of law space as the general political instability in the country which is grossly affecting the work of human rights defenders as well as the citizens’s full realization and enjoyment of democracy, freedom of expression, information and political tolerance.
Concerned over governments’ political intolerance as well as impingement on the freedom of expression and information,
Concerned about the repeated political, conflict faced for many years in this country,
Concerned about the unlawful detention of 23 soldiers who remain imprisoned
The Forum welcomes the peaceful elections held in Tanzania, however, there have been some concerns raised by some quarters particularly the opposition over some irregularities which may have characterized the electoral process with rigging claims as some.
Concerns over the draconian laws that limit the space of CSOs and citizens participation as well as advance of democracy and human rights in Swaziland,
Concerns over the continuous corruption that has revealed over 700 billion stolen in states departments which has left many communities severely disadvantaged as water, food, sanitation, education, health remain undelivered
Concerned for the right to assembly by demonstrators is violated leaving them with no alternative to raise their issues of corruption and police impunity is allowed to prevail for a long time.
Congratulate the students for a successful protest against school fees increase and those who began the protest which we call the Afro-Youth spring that started from Nigeria, Kenya, and all the youth to join and fight corruption and demand delivery of economic and social rights services – the right to education is promoted and protected by the African human rights mechanisms
Concerns of threats and intimidation against human rights defenders and also attempts to stifle the voice of CSOs,
Done in Banjul, The Gambia – 2nd November, 2015