Final Communique of the Second Meeting of the Study Group on Freedom of Association in Africa

    FINAL COMMUNIQUE OF THE SECOND MEETING OF THE STUDY GROUP ON FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION IN AFRICA

    COTONOU, HOTEL BENIN ATLANTIQUE BEACH, BENIN

    12 - 14 AUGUST 2013

     

    1. The Study Group on Freedom of Association in Africa (Study Group) held its second meeting from 12 to 14 August 2013 in Cotonou, Republic of Benin. 
    1. The meeting was attended by the following members of the Study Group:

    Honourable Commissioner Reine Alapini-Gansou, Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa;

    Honourable Commissioner Lucy Asuagbor, Former Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa;

    Ms Tchamba Olivia, Assistant to the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa;  

    Mr Claude Ndemeye, Assistant to the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa;

    Mr Clément Nyaletsossi Voule, Representative, International Service for Human Rights;

    Mr Abdoul Diallo Gadiry, Representative, West Africa Human Rights Defenders Network;

    Ms Hannah Forster, Representative, African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies;

    Ms Sarah Dorman, Representative, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies;

    Mr Christopher Michael Roberts, Representative, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies;

    Mr Hassan Shire Ahmed, Representative, East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network;

    Mr Joseph Bikanda, Representative, East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project;

    Mr John Foley, Representative, East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network;

    Ms Meskerem Geset, Representative, Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa;

    Ms Corlett Letjoane, Representative, Human Rights Institute of South Africa;

    Ms Maximilienne Ngo Mbé Chantal, Representative, Central Africa Human Rights Defenders Network. 

    1. The following resource persons and guests were also in attendance:

    Mr Nounawon Kekere Hermann, Representative of the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Benin;

    Mr Mabassa Fall, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) Representative to the African Union;

    Ms Hélène Boussard, Consultant;

    Mr Alassani Tigri, Consultant, human rights and democracy;

    Mr Emerson Sykes, Representative, International Center for Not-for-Profit Law.      

    1. The meeting was chaired by Honourable Commissioner Reine Alapini-Gansou, in her capacity as the Chairperson of the Study Group on Freedom of Association in Africa.

     

    1. In her opening remarks, Honourable Commissioner Reine Alapini-Gansou expressed her gratitude to the representatives of the various networks for their participation and constant commitment to human rights promotion and protection on the continent. She underscored the difficulties faced by the Study Group and commended the contributions of partners such as the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law and the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project towards the implementation of ACHPR Resolution 151 (XLVI) 09 on the Need to Conduct a Study on Freedom of Association in Africa.
    1. Honourable Commissioner Lucy Asuagbor, who was the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa at the time the Study Group was established, reminded the members of the Study Group of the key role played by freedom of association and underscored the fact that freedom of association is a gateway to all the rights guaranteed by the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
    1. The meeting was declared open by the Representative of the Minister of Justice of Benin who highlighted the need for a State to put in place a solid legal framework to ensure the right of freedom of association.
    1. During the three-day meeting, the members of the Study Group made observations and amendments to the draft report on freedom of association and assembly in Africa. In light of the shortcomings and omissions noted in the course of their research, the members of the Study Group reaffirmed the need to harmonise the various laws governing freedom of association in Africa.
    1. The Study Group drafted the Guidelines on Freedom of Association and Assembly in Africa after reviewing the legal framework of freedom of association and assembly on the continent. The Guidelines establish protection standards aimed at preventing disparities in ensuring the right to freedom of association and assembly.
    1.  The Study Group also discussed its future plans and activities.
    1. The Study Group prepared a draft report on freedom of association in Africa which will be presented to the African Commission during its 54th Ordinary Session to be held from 22 October to 5 November 2013 in Banjul, The Gambia.  
    1. The closing ceremony of the second meeting of the Study Group on Freedom of Association in Africa was held on 14 August 2013 in Cotonou, Hotel Benin Atlantique Beach, Republic of Benin.

    Cotonou, 14 August 2013

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      Date: 19 August 2013

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