African Court marks decade of human rights protection

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Arusha (Tanzania), Nov. 21, GNA – The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR), is marking a decade of human rights protection with international symposium at Arusha, the United Republic of Tanzania.

The African Court has therefore rolled out the event to assess the work of the Court for the last 10 years with a view to making recommendations that will enhance the effectiveness of the Court for the future,’’ according to the African Court President, Justice Sylvain Orě.
 
About 150 delegates including the academia, civil society organisations, Organs of the African Union, Judiciary representatives of regional and sub-regional human rights institutions, media practitioners are attending the two day commemoration.

Themes being discussed include: The historical genesis of the Court; The jurisdiction of the Court, similarities and peculiarities in comparison to other regional and sub-regional bodies; Challenges to judicial protection to human rights in Africa and; Enhancing institutional legitimacy and protection of human rights—a persistent challenge of emerging human rights institutions: The case of the African Court.

Other issues are Accessibility of the Court—economic, legal and other obstacles; a critical analysis of jurisprudence of the African Court; Ten years of African Court—lessons learnt and; Institutional co-operation between the African Court and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

The German International Development Agency (GIZ) has facilitated the two-day Symposium in collaboration with the African Court.

The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Court) is a continental court established by African countries to ensure the protection of human and peoples’ rights in Africa. It complements and reinforces the functions of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

The Court was established by virtue of Article 1 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, (the Protocol), which was adopted by Member States of the then Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in June 1998. The Protocol came into force on 25 January 2004.

As at October 2016, only seven of the 30 States Parties to the Protocol had made the declaration recognizing the competence of the Court to receive cases from NGOs and individuals.

The seven States are: Ghana, Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Malawi and Tanzania.

The 30 States which have ratified the Protocol are: Ghana, Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Comoros, Congo, Gabon, The Gambia,  Kenya, Libya, Lesotho, Mali, Malawi, Mozambique, Mauritania, Mauritius, Nigeria, Niger, Rwanda, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, South Africa, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia and Uganda.

The Court officially started its operations in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in November 2006, and in August 2007 it moved to its seat in Arusha, the United Republic of Tanzania.

As at October 2016, the Court had received 119 applications and finalised 32 cases. Currently, the Court has 87 pending cases and 4 Requests for Advisory Opinion.

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