69: Resolution on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders In Africa

    The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights meeting at its 35th Ordinary Session held from 21st May to 4th June 2004, in Banjul, The Gambia:

    Recognising the crucial contribution of the work of human rights defenders in promoting human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Africa;

    Seriously concerned
    about the persistence of violations targeting individuals and members of their families, groups or organisations working to promote and protect human and peoples’ rights and by the growing risks faced by human rights defenders in Africa;

    Noting with deep concern that impunity for threats, attacks and acts of intimidation against human rights defenders persists and that this impacts negatively on the work and safety of human rights defenders;

    Recalling that it is entrusted by the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights with the mandate to promote human and peoples’ rights and ensure their protection in Africa;

    Reaffirming the importance of the observance of the purposes and principles of the African Charter for the promotion and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for human rights defenders and all persons on the continent;

    Bearing in mind the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (Declaration on Human Rights Defenders);

    Mindful that in the Grand Bay (Mauritius) Declaration, the Organisation of African Unity called on Member States “to take appropriate steps to implement the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders in Africa”;

    Mindful that the Kigali Declaration recognises “the important role that the human rights defenders play in the promotion and protection of human rights in Africa”

    Recalling its decision to include on its agenda the situation of human rights defenders and to nominate a focal point on human rights defenders;

    1. Now decides to appoint a Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders in Africa for a period of two years with the following mandate:

    1. to seek, receive, examine and to act upon information on the situation of human rights defenders in Africa;
    2. to submit reports at every Ordinary Session of the African Commission;
    3. to cooperate and engage in dialogue with Member States, National Human Rights Institutions, relevant intergovernmental bodies, international and regional mechanisms of protection of human rights defenders, human rights defenders and other stake holders;
    4. to develop and recommend effective strategies to better protect human rights defenders and to follow up on his/her recommendations;
    5. to raise awareness and promote the implementation of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders in Africa;

    2. Further decides to nominate Commissioner Jainaba Johm as the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders for the current duration of her mandate within this Commission;

    3. Reiterates its support for the work carried out by human rights defenders in Africa;

    4. Calls upon Member States to promote and give full effect to the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, to take all necessary measures to ensure the protection of human rights defenders and to include information on measures taken to protect human rights defenders in their periodic reports;

    5. Invites its members to mainstream the issue of human rights defenders in their activities;

    6. Urges Member States to co-operate with and assist the Focal Point in the performance of his/her tasks and to provide all necessary information for the fulfillment of his/her mandate;

    7. Requests the African Union to provide adequate resources, assistance and support in the implementation of this Resolution.


    Banjul, The Gambia, 4 June 2004.

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    • Resolution on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders In Africa #69

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