Remarks by the Chairperson of the African Commission Honourable Kayitesi Zainabo Sylvie delivered at the Opening Ceremony of the 3rd Joint Annual Meeting of the African Commission and the African Court

    Honourable Busingye Johnston, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Republic of Rwanda;

    Honourable Justice Sophia Akuffo, President of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights;

    Honourable Mohamed BechirKhalfallah, Vice- Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights; 

    Honourable Justice Gerard Niyungeko, Acting Vice-President of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights;

    Honourable Judges of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights;

    Honourable Commissioners of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights;

    Staff of the Secretariat of the Commission and Registry of the Court;

    All other protocols duly observed.

    I am honoured and very delighted to make these remarks on the occasion of the third annual joint meeting of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission) and the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Court) and to welcome Honourable Judges and Commissioners as well as staff of the Secretariat of the Commission and Registry of the Court to Kigali, our beautiful city.

    Let me also on behalf of the two institutions here present thank the Government of the Republic of Rwanda, through the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Honourable Busingye Johnston for hosting this meeting and the Extra Ordinary Session of the Commission,as well as for the hospitality accorded to Honourable Judges, Honourable Commissioners and staff of the two institutions.

     

    Honourable Minister,

    The Commission is an institution established under Article 45 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to promote human and peoples’ rights on the continent. In executing its promotion mandate, the Commission undertakes missions to Member States of the African Union to promote human rights, undertakes activities through its special mechanisms to address various thematic human rights issues and concerns on the continent. As part of its protection mandate, the Commission receives and considers complaints of allegations of human rights violations submitted to it by Member States and their citizens. As an organ of the African Union, the Commission executes its Mandate through the collaboration and support of Member States of the African Union which include the Republic of Rwanda. Human Rights promotion and protection is the collective responsibility of all and key and the Member Statesare our key stakeholders.

    The establishment and operationalisation of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights also added more impetus to the protection mandate of the Commission in terms of our complementarity relationship which is well defined in the Commission’s Rules of Procedure as well as the Rules of the Court. This Joint Annual Meeting is therefore the result of this collaborative partnership that exists between the two institutions whose mandate is to promote and protect the Human Rights Agenda of the African Union for the benefit of the citizens and peoples of Africa.

     

    Honourable Minister,

    It is in this context that during our past Meetings, we have had highly interactive fora for discussion and exchange of lessons learned, best practices on technical, organizational andjurisprudential matters. We have also been able to discuss challenges in the implementation of the mandates of the two institutions/organs, within the context of our complementary relationship.

    This third joint Annual Meetingis another opportunity to rub minds together, share ideas together and dilate on common strategies, approach and the determination of matters relating to our mandates and human rights with a view to better execute our respective mandate. Our dialogue is just one practical expression of the principle that underpins our role in the African Human Rights System, the principle of complementarity, through which we bring our respective comparative advantages and synergies to bear on the human rights challenges that confront Africa today.

    This meeting was preceded by the Meeting of the Bureau of the Court and the Bureau of the Commissionwhich was apreparatory step for this joint meeting of the two institutions; at the end of which the African Commission will continue with its Extraordinary Session.

     

    Honourable Minister,

    In view of the important role that our two institutions play in promoting and protecting human rights on the Continent, I would like to place on record that Africa needs us, Africa wants us and Africa is calling on us as a collective body to work towards creating an Africa, where rights are protected, respected, realized and enjoyed by all. We have started that journey through these sustained collaborative efforts and it is my strong believe that we can and we should work it through to the end despite the challenges that we have.

    It is therefore my fervent hope that the meeting of all Honourable Judges and Commissioners will allow us once again to discuss further and more in-depth the issues and items,that we have identified and adopted for discussion on the agenda with a view to find solutions and chart the way forward for the two institutions.

    I would like to express our gratitude to GIZ, our key partner, for the technical and financial support provided to the Commission in order to ensure the success of these meetings.

    Finally, I hope that you will all take time out of your busy schedule to discover Kigali and enjoy our hospitality.

     

    Thank you for your kind listening.

     

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