By Kebba Jeffang
Honourable Kayitesi Zainabo Sylvie, Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights as part of her opening statement at the 57th African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights announced her term end and setting to hand over soon.
At the same ceremony on the 4th November, 2015, she had sworn-in two elected commissioners following the end of tenure of their predecessors.
Making the announcement, Madam Sylvie said, “as you know this is my final address to you as the Chairperson of the Commission having served diligently in the four years; first as the vice chairperson of the commission and later as the Chairperson. I am happy that I will soon be stepping down and handing over the reigns of leadership to my dear colleagues to continue the good work the commission is doing. I would therefore want to take this opportunity to sincerely thank all of you for your steadfast support and assistance throughout my period at the helm of the commission. I specifically thank the commissioners and state parties and all other stakeholders including the national human rights institutions (NHRIs).”
She said in the last four years, they have managed to consider more state reports and reduce the number of communication backlog. She said the commission has also focused on expanding its collaboration networks by increasing the number of national human rights Institutions (NHRIs) with affiliate status. According to her, these networks have greatly enhanced the performance of the commission and through their work the commission has performed very well in the past five years, and enables them reach corners and crevices of the continent that they would not have been able to reach otherwise.
The ACHPR Chairperson added that there are a number of ‘soft’ laws and protocols on various human rights issues that the commission is also proud to have developed during her tenure.
“We extend our appreciation to those state parties that have agreed to promote missions being undertaken in their respective countries and urge all state parties who have not yet done so to extend an open invitation to the commission to do so,” said Sylvie.
However, Madam Sylvie described the year 2015 ‘challenging’ in terms of human rights protection and promotion on the continent. She said there are still many human rights issues confronting the continent which demand more efforts in order to effectively address them.
Meanwhile, she led the process of swearing-in two new commissioners in the persons of Dr. Solomon Ayele Dersso from Ethiopia and Mrs. Jamesina L King from Sierra Leone respectively. The two succeeded Mr. Mohamed Khalfallah from Tunisia and Pacifique Manirakiza whose terms of office has expired.