By Kebba Jeffang
The 56th Ordinary Session on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) that began 17 days ago finally wrapped up in Banjul on the 7th May, 2015 after resolutions were passed to support the strife against prevalence of human rights violations in Africa.
Presiding over the official closing ceremony, Hon. Mama Fatima Singhateh, the Gambia’s Attorney General and Minister for Justice assured the host country’s tolerance the human rights.
She revealed that she understood the crucial subject matters being discussed during the session which are all related to the human rights situation on the continent. She indicated that despite the success in some parts, the continent still needs to fight against the challenges of insecurity, disease, poverty, corruption, unemployment, arbitrary arrest, detention, violence, terrorism while fundamental freedoms also remain a challenge.
“The key questions in moving forward on the human rights agenda are obvious. They are, how do we build from the recommendations of this session, how do we build stronger partnerships between civil society, governments and other stakeholders, how do we assist the Commission to effectively carry out its mandate, how best do we leverage support for common goals and what is our role in all foregoing,” she asked.
She noted that the government of The Gambia has repeatedly stressed the importance of human rights for all, equal rights and opportunities for all citizens, the rule of law, the crucial role of the media and of intercultural and inter generational dialogue.
“All are critical to build deep and sustainable democracy,” she remarked.
Hon. Commissioner Lawrence Murugu Mute reading out the Final Communiqué to the delegates at the closing informed that the Commission during the session has launched five documents. He said they included the General Comment No.2 on Article 14 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol), Study on the Situation of Women Human Rights in Africa, Study on Nationality, Report of Study Group on Freedom of Association and Assembly in Africa and the Guidelines on Conditions of Arrest, Police Custody and Pre Trial Detention in Africa.
He said the Commission has also considered and adopted documents such as the draft protocol to the African Charter rights on the abolition of the death penalty in Africa as well as principles and guidelines on human and peoples’ while countering terrorism.
“The Commission adopted the resolutions condemning the xenophobic attacks in South Africa, human rights situation in Kenya and the right to rehabilitation for victims of torture. The Commission made a statement on the situation of human rights in Burundi in the upcoming Presidential elections, the deteriorating situation of migrants in the Mediterranean sea and the attacks perpetrated terrorist group Boko Haram against Nigerian military contingents on Saturday, 25th April, 2015,” said Commissioner Mute of African Commission.