The European Union (EU) has signed a € 2 million contract with the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR), which aims at strengthening the African Human Rights System under the EU-Pan-African Programme.
The three- year contract signed on the sidelines of the Fifth Annual High Level Dialogue on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance in Africa currently underway in Arusha, the United Republic of Tanzania is part of the wider € 10 million EU support for the reinforcement human rights institutions across the continent.
According to the EU, the main objective of the contract is to streamline the court’s processes to drive efficiency, improve understanding on the proceedings of the court and enhance access to the court.
The contract was signed by Justice Sylvain Ore, President of the African Court and Mr Ranieri Sabatucci, Head of The EU Delegation to the African Union.The Court is expected to reduce time for the completion of cases and ensure adequate and timely compensation to victims.
The Court is to work to increase the number of ratifications of the Protocol on the establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the number of countries, which have deposited the Article 34(6) declaration allowing individuals and civil society organisations direct access to the court.
Twenty-four African Countries has been cited for breach of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples` Rights (ACHPR) on the establishment of an AfCHPR.The Countries are: Angola, Botswana, Central African Republic, Cape Verde, Djibouti, Democratic Rep. of Congo, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Liberia, Madagascar, Namibia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sao Tome & Principe, Sudan, South Sudan, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
The Protocol was adopted by Member States of the then Organisation of African Unity (OAU) now African Union (AU) in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in June 1998. The Protocol came into force on January 25, 2004.Only 30 States Parties have ratified the Protocol out of which as at October 2016, only seven had made the declaration recognising the competence of the African Court to receive cases from non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and individuals.
African Court document available to the Ghana News Agency identified the seven good standing States Parties as: Ghana, Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Malawi and Tanzania.The 23 State Parties who have failed to deposit the declaration recognising the competence of the African Court to receive cases from NGOs and individuals are: Algeria, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Gabon, The Gambia, Kenya, Libya, Lesotho, Mozambique, Mauritania, Mauritius, Nigeria, Niger, Rwanda, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, South Africa, Senegal, Togo, Tunisia and Uganda.
The African Court officially started its operations in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in November 2006, and in August 2007 it moved to its seat in Arusha.Meanwhile the EU also signed another €2.5 million contract with the ACHPR to improve the respect for human rights under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other relevant human rights instruments.
The ACHPR is to concentrate on litigation, ensuring timely adjudication of complaints to the African Court as well as diligent follow-up on compliance by the AU Member States.It will also raise awareness to enable citizens to have a clear understanding of their rights and duties. “The ACHPR will work with partners and stakeholders to document good practices in legal and policy reforms develop general comments and undertake joint investigative missions.
The Dialogue is assessing the 13 years of the Maputo Protocol on the Rights of Women; 15 years of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child; 29 years of African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights; and 35 years of the adoption of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
The AU has declared 2016 the African Year of Human Rights with particular focus on the Rights of Women.About 400 delegates, including the representatives of AU Member States; Members of the African Governance Platform; Academia, Researchers, Distinguished African statesmen/women; Civil Society Organisations, Media, International Partners and Youth Organisations, among others are attending.