61ST Ordinary Session of The African Commission Wraps Up

By: Kebba AF Touray

The 61st Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights came to a climax yesterday, 15th November 2017. The fifteen -day session, which marks the 61st edition coinciding with the 30th Anniversary of the Commission, availed member states and stakeholders to discuss, share opinions and put forward mechanism to combat the challenges facing the Commission.

Delivering the final communiqué, Commissioner Jemsinia EL King said the Commission has considered and adopted the draft study on HIV, the Law and human rights in the African Human Rights system; that key challenges and opportunities for Rights-Based Responses to HIV, the draft guidelines on access to information and elections for Africa and principles on Decriminalization of petty offences, were some of the documents with amendments.

On Article 7 of the Maputo protocol, she cited that the Commission considered and adopted the report of the secretary, report on finance and budgetary matters and the 2018 Annual work plan, and has also deferred consideration on reports such as promotion mission to the republic of Nigeria, draft of its revised rules of procedures and the update on PANAF, among others.

Commissioner King said that the Commission has adopted resolutions on: the renewal of mandate of working group on extractive industries, environment and human rights violations in Africa; the appointment of special rapporteurs on prisons and conditions of detention on the continent; the appointment of special rapporteurs on human rights defenders and focal point on reprisals; the appointment of a member and renewal of the mandate of the chairperson and members of a working group on the death penalty, extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary killings on the continent inter alia.

“The Commission expresses gratitude to the Government and people of the Gambia for the warm welcome and hospitality, resources and facilities made available to the commission, contributing to the smooth conduct and success of the session and the celebrations of the 30th Anniversary”, she concluded.

Commissioner Lawrence Murugu Mute, on behalf of the Chairperson, Soyata Maiga, said despite the progress made in the promotion and protection of human rights by state parties, it remains concerned and exercised by the persistence of human rights violations in the areas of civil conflicts, acts of terror continues to kill and maim the African populace. Thus Africa’s citizens continue to face poverty, unemployment and worsening food and national insecurity. “Our citizens’ civil, political, economic, social, cultural and indeed peoples’ rights, continue to be violated”, said Hon. Mute. He thanked president Adama Barrow, the Government and people of the Gambia, panellists, state delegates and all the key stakeholders for their contributions towards the success of the event.

In her closing statements, the Vice President of The Gambia Fatoumata Jallow Tambajang, said the communiqué that was read at the session is a strong indication of the magnitude of work achieved so far, by the collective efforts through the Commission and other parties.

She spoke of her conviction that the issues discussed and recommendations made during the session, will be made accessible to, especially women and girls, to ensure a proper implementation can be monitored in fulfilment of their obligations on the Charter.

Vice President Tambajang on behalf of President Barrow, reiterated the commitment of the president in ratifying some of the instruments of the African Charter and his commitment to provide support in kind and morale, to the 61st Ordinary Session held in Banjul, in order to ensure a continuous hosting of the Commission.

She congratulated the outgoing Commissioners for their immense contributions and dedications to the success of the commission over the past years. While congratulating the incoming ones, Vice President Tambajang thanked the Commission, stakeholders and all those who have contributed towards the success of the session.