ACHPR62 | Outcome of the session of the Commission

18.05.2018

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The 62nd ordinary session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission) took place in Nouakchott, Mauritania from 25 April to 9 May 2018. This session was marked by the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the African Commission. This celebration asks the question: What has the Commission accomplished during its 30 years of existence?

This 62nd session of the African Commission was attended by 676 delegates, representing 29 Member States, a number regularly growing over the years. During this session, two countries were reviewed, namely Eritrea and Nigeria for which ISHR and Partnership for Justice submitted a joint shadow report.

This session was opened by his Excellency Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz the President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. His statement was followed by a remark of Commissioner Soyata Maiga, Chair of the African Commission. In her opening remark she emphasised the creeping crisis in Cameroon with 'the revival of Anglophone irredentism', the security and humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic, epidemics and violent repression of demonstrations organised in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in relation to the issue of presidential elections and the persistence of the political crisis in Burundi. She highlighted the progress made by several countries and the Commission itself in its monitoring activities for the past 30 years which doesn’t mean that there is no room for improvement. The Commission must keep working alongside States and civil society for the next 30 years to keep enhancing human rights on the continent.

Many States and civil society organisations intervened to present the situation of human rights in different countries in Africa. Numerous NGO reports denounced the use of excessive force by the police to reprimand protests in the DRC, while the government tried to paint a glorifying picture of the human rights situation. As a matter of fact,  defenders are being expelled from the country or working in a constant state of fear especially in the context of the upcoming presidential elections. 

The celebration of the 30th anniversary of the African Commission was clouded by discrimination against local Mauritanian defenders willing to participate in the session. Indeed, though we have not received information from defenders who have been prevented from entering the country once they had acquire the official invitation from the Commission, there were important issues as to access given to the session itself. Though the country's President delivered an opening statement advocating for the advancement of human rights in Africa, the session was marked by the refusal of authorities to grant civil society actors, access to the opening session, and even, in some cases, to the whole session, despite invitations previously acquired.

This leads to an important question:  how can the African Commission guarantee the protection of human rights in Africa when it can’t guarantee access for civil society to its ordinary session?  

To conclude, during this session the Commission adopted the following resolutions:

Contact: Etong Kame Adélaïde, Africa Advocacy Consultant, a.etong@ishr.ch

Photo: DefendDefenders

Category:

Region
  • Africa
Topic
  • Human rights defenders
  • NGOs
  • Reprisals and intimidation
Mechanism
  • African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights