28-30 OCTOBER, 2017





The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) based in Banjul, The Gambia will be celebrating its 30th anniversary in November, 2017 this year having been established in 1987 with a mandate to protect and promote human and peoples’ rights as well as interpret the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

However, the level of engagement with this premier human rights institution in Africa has been low due to a number of factors, amongst others, the lack of awareness, lack of information of its existence and indeed the relevant institutes; lack of resources to participate regularly in its ordinary sessions thereby limiting their commitment with the system and its mechanisms. Most of the NGOs have limited knowledge about the international Human Rights System as well as the regional, especially the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and its Mechanisms. This has no doubt limited their engagement and impact, in many instances.

The Forum on the Participation of NGOs in the Ordinary Sessions of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission), also known as the ‘NGOs Forum’ is an advocacy platform coordinated by the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (African Centre) to promote advocacy, lobbying and networking among Human Rights NGOs, for the promotion and protection of human rights in Africa.

The NGOs Forum shares updates on the human rights situation in Africa by the African and international NGOs community with a view of identifying responses as well as adopting strategies towards improving the human rights situation on the continent.

Consequently, the discussion of the upcoming NGOs Forum will generally centre around the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The ensuing discussion will seek to review the level of awareness and engagement by NGOs for the promotion and protection of human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Africa.

Objective: Fostering collaboration between and among NGOs and with the African Commission, for the promotion and protection of human rights in Africa under the said themes.


The Forum will cover three (3) main thematic areas namely:

  1. Status of Human Rights and Democracy in Africa (update from sub-regional Focal Points on the general situation)
  1. Special Interest Groups Discussions (Kindly note that the list of not exhaustive, new interest groups are welcome)
  1. Prisons and Conditions of Detention in Africa
  2. Rights of Women in Africa
  3. Human Rights Defenders in Africa
  4. Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa
  5. Prevention of Torture in Africa
  6. Refugees, Asylum Seekers, Internally Displaced Persons and Migrants in Africa
  7. Indigenous Populations/Communities in Africa
  8. Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Africa
  9. Death Penalty and Extra-Judicial, Summary or Arbitrary Killings in Africa
  10. Rights of Older Persons and People with Disabilities in Africa
  11. People Living with HIV (PLHIV) and those at Risk, Vulnerable to and Affected by HIV
  12. Extractive Industries; Environment and Human Rights Violations
  13. Policing and Human Rights
  14. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI)
  15. Freedom of Association and Assembly
  16. Youths
  17. Enforced Disappearances

3.Networking for Human Rights in Africa (sharing lesson learnt, challenges, best practices with participants on how NGOs can engage with the African Commission in complimenting its work in the promotion and protection of human rights. A series of panel discussions on general human rights related issues will be organized within the main agenda of the NGOs Forum as well as at side events, and even extending to the margins of the Ordinary Session.

Date and Venue: The Forum will be held from 28-30 October, 2017 in Banjul, The Gambia.

 Language: English and French are the languages of the NGOs Forum with available simultaneous interpretation facilities.

Participants: Representatives from African civil society/NGOs, international NGOs from Africa and beyond working on youth, democracy, human rights and the rule of law issues, academia, media, etc,

Expected Outcomes:

  • Adoption of Recommendations and Resolutions to be forwarded to the African Commission for its consideration during the 61st Ordinary Session
  • Identify level of awareness of the existence of the the ACHPR and review strategies for engagement of NGOs with the African Commission
  • NGOs Statement at the official opening of the 61st Ordinary Session (highlighting deliberations of the NGOs Forum)
  • Presentation of alternative reports on the situation of human rights (in States whose reports will be examined during the said Session)
  • Networking, advocacy and lobbying opportunity at different levels
  • Report of the NGOs Forum and African Human Rights Bookfair

Visa: Participants are encouraged to make the necessary visa arrangements, where required, before departing from their respective countries to The Gambia. Where participants do not have Gambia Diplomatic Representation in their countries of residence, the ACDHRS would endeavor to facilitate the issuance of visa on arrival to such participants, provided the ACDHRS is informed well in advance and provided with the requisite information to facilitate the process.

Accommodation: The African Centre would distribute negotiated room rates to participants.

Registration: All participants must complete and submit the registration form online which can be found at: no later than Friday, 22nd September, 2017 providing all the details as contained in the form.  The African Centre is not obliged to process registration forms received after the deadline.

Registration fees:  All participants are to pay the registration fee of $150.00 (one hundred and fifty United States Dollars) or its equivalent in Gambian Dalasis, Euros or CFA. The said amount contributes to expenses in relation to the conference package (conference room, tea and coffee breaks, lunch, water, projector, interpretation equipment, Interpreters salary, translation, documentation, stationery and other administrative logistics/support) provided during the Forum only.

Furthermore, note that the said amount should be paid by ALL participants in cash at the registration desk.

Panel Request: Kindly complete the panel request form online as detailed as possible no later than Friday, 22nd September, 2017. Please note that the African Centre is not obliged to receive and process panel requests received after the deadline. Partners are required to contribute the amount US$300.00 (three hundred US Dollars) for all approved requests as their contribution towards the organization of the NGOs Forum.

Please note that panel requests should be framed around the theme ‘African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights’.

Administrative Fees for side events: Partners that wish to organise side events and require the assistance of the African Centre should please note that an administrative fee of US$500.00 (five hundred US Dollars) must be paid to the African Centre by the said Partner.

However, if the African Centre is informed of the organisation of the side event only for its information, then the Partner would not be required to pay such a fee.

Training Workshop on Regional and International Human Rights Mechanisms: The African Centre and its partners will organize the above-mentioned training from 25-27 October, 2017 in Banjul, The Gambia prior to the NGOs Forum. Participation will be on a ‘first-come first-served’ basis.  Participants will be required to meet their travel cost while the organizers will endeavor to meet the cost of accommodation and dinner expenses for selected participants for about 5 nights. Priority will be given to participants who are based and working in countries whose State report will be reviewed during the ACHPR session, have not engaged with the African Commission in the past, do not have observer status with the ACHPR, have communications before the ACHPR, amongst other criteria.

Please disseminate this information to your networks as widely as possible.   For more information, please email: