African Commission issues Communiqué

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission) which held its 56th Ordinary Session in Banjul, The Gambia, from 21 April to 7 May 2015 has issued a final communiqué of its 56th ordinary session.

According to the communqe a total of 694 delegates participated in the Session; 175 representing 32 Member State Parties, 9 representing AU Organs, forty three 43 from NHRIs, 17 from International and Inter-Governmental Organisations, and 304 representing African and International NGOs. Seventy 70 representatives of the media and other independent observers were also in attendance.

A total of forty-one (41) NGOs with Observer Status with the Commission made statements on the human rights situation in Africa. The Commission launched the following five (5) documents and studies during the 56th Ordinary Session: i. 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); ii. Study on the Situation of Women Human Rights Defenders in Africa; iii. Study on Nationality in Africa; iv. Report of the Study Group on Freedom of Association and Assembly in Africa; and i v. Guidelines on Conditions of Arrest, Police Custody and Pre-trial Detention in Africa.

The following four panels were also held during the Session: i. Panel on torture and the need to prepare General Comments on Article 5 of the African Charter; ii. Panel on the Draft Protocol on the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Africa; iii. Panel to sensitise States Parties on ratification of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; iv. Panel on the Guidelines on the Use of the Maputo Protocol, The draft Protocol to the African Charter on Human and peoples’ rights on the Abolition of the death Penalty in Africa; ii. Principles and Guidelines on Human and Peoples’ Rights while Countering Terrorism. The Commission adopted the following Resolutions: i. Resolution Condemning the Xenophobic Attacks in the Republic of South Africa; ii. Resolution on the Human Rights Situation in the Republic of Kenya; and iii. Resolution on the Right to Rehabilitation for Victims of Torture.

The Commission made statements on the following matters: i. The situation of human rights in Burundi in the upcoming presidential elections; ii. The deteriorating situation of migrants in the Mediterranean Sea and iii. The attacks perpetrated by the terrorist group Boko Haram against a Nigerien military contingent on Saturday, 25 April 2015.

The Commission decided to hold its 18th Extraordinary Session from 29 July 2015 to 7 August 2015 in Zanzibar, the United Republic of Tanzania and its 57th Ordinary Session from 4 to 18 November 2015, in Banjul, The Gambia.