104: Resolution on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in Africa

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Commission), meeting at its 41st Ordinary Session in Accra, Ghana, from 16 - 30 May 2007:-

Recalling the various human rights protection instruments, particularly the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, the Grand Bay Declaration and Plan of Action, the Kigali Declaration, and the Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Fair Trial and Legal Aid in Africa,

Also recalling the obligations of States Parties to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Charter) and to other regional and international human rights instruments for the protection of human rights, more especially, the obligation to guarantee the security of persons living in their own country, the freedoms of assembly association, and expression of human rights defenders, and their right to take part in the management and conduct of the public affairs of their countries,

Deeply concerned by the situation of human rights defenders within the States Parties to the African Charter, who--as a result of their activities--have suffered multiple violations of their basic rights such as arbitrary arrests, illegal detentions, acts of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, extra-judicial killings, lack of the right to counsel, and the refusal of medical care and food during the period of their detention,

Recognizing the insecurity that often characterizes post-election periods in Africa, more especially, as it affects human rights defenders, especially during election campaigns which take place in African countries:

  1. Urges all States Parties to the African Charter to fulfill all their obligations as stipulated in the Charter, in the Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Fair Trial and Legal Aid in Africa, in the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in the Grand Bay Declaration, in the Kigali Declaration, as well as in the other international and regional instruments to which they are parties; 
  1. Urges States Parties to take all the necessary measures to ensure the protection of all human rights defenders and ensure that they have an environment which allows them to carry out their activities safely, without suffering any acts of violence, threats, reprisals, discrimination, pressure and any arbitrary acts by State or non-State actors as a result of their human rights activities;
  1. Recommends that States Parties to the Charter should take specific measures to ensure the physical and moral integrity of their peoples, especially those of human rights defenders, to enable the latter to fully play their role in the promotion and protection of human rights especially during election periods.