The Commission must fulfil its obligatory mandate of protecting human rights

The FIDH will be present in Banjul, in order to take part in the 35th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, with several member organisations from Sudan, Niger, Nigeria, Mauritania, Côte d’Ivoire, Burundi, Algeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, Uganda and Senegal.

On this occasion, two shadow reports to the States’ periodic reports on the situation of human rights in Niger and Sudan will be presented to the Commissioners . Several draft resolutions will also be submitted on NEPAD, women’s rights, death penalty, as well as on specific situations in countries such as Sudan, Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire. The FIDH recalls that the Commission has not fulfilled its obligatory mandate of protecting human rights since many sessions, seeing that no resolution of this sort has been adopted despite the alarming human rights situation in several African States. Though other organs of the African Union, such as the Executive Council and the Peace and Security Council, now firmly react to this topic, the Commission remains indeed silent.

The FIDH will also devote its particular attention to the question of the protection of human rights defenders. The establishment by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights of a focal point on human rights defenders at its 34th Ordinary Session was welcomed by the FIDH, who had been recommending it for years, and who will watch over its mandate being not only renewed, but also precised through another resolution of the Commission.

The FIDH will also use the session of the Commission to give an overview of the general human rights situation on the continent, notably referring to its last published reports on Congo-Brazzaville, Guinea, Uganda and the Central African Republic. In addition, two position papers will be made public on the conditions of detention in Africa, and the impact of the antiterrorism fight on human rights.

Lastly, the FIDH will closely follow the agenda of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. In order to ensure the credibility and independence of this new mechanism dedicated to the fight against impunity, the FIDH will encourage the African States to ratify the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the establishment of the Court; to issue a declaration under Article 34-6 of the Protocol in order to enable individuals and non-governmental organisations to directly institute cases before it. The FIDH will call upon the States parties to apply the African Union’s guidelines on the appointment of the judges at the national level, so as to ensure an equal gender and a fair geographical distribution, as well as an impartial representation of the various African legal systems, in accordance with the provisions of the Protocol on the establishment of the Court. Furthermore, the FIDH will call upon the Commission to better inform civil society about its relations with the African Court, in order to create an efficient regional system of human rights protection.

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