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

    The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (the African Commission or ACHPR) meeting at its 42nd Ordinary Session held from 15 - 28 November 2007, in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo:

    Recalling its mandate to promote human and peoples' rights and ensure their protection in Africa under the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (the African Charter);

    Recalling the human rights protection instruments, particularly the United Nations Declaration on human rights defenders, the Grand Bay Declaration and its Plan of action the Kigali Declaration, the Principles and Guidelines on the right to a fair trial and legal aid in Africa;

    Cognizant of the obligations of States Parties to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and under 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, as well as freedoms of assembly, association, of expression of human rights defenders and their rights to take part in the management and conduct of the public affairs of their countries;

    Deeply concerned by the situation of Human Rights Defenders in Africa within the States Parties to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, particularly those who, as a result of their activities, suffer multiple violations of their basic rights such as arbitrary arrests, illegal detentions, acts of torture, inhuman and degrading treatments, extra-judicial killings, lack of the right to counsel and the refusal of medical care and food during the period of their detention;

    • Urges all States Parties to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights to fulfill all their obligations as stipulated in the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, the Principles and Guidelines on the right to a fair trial and legal aid in Africa, the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, the Grand Bay Declaration, Kigali Declaration as well as other international and regional instruments to which they are party and are bound to protect;
    • Urges States Parties to take all the necessary measures to ensure to all human rights defenders an environment conducive to carrying out their activities without fear of 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;
    • Recommends that States 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.


    Done in Brazzaville, the Republic of Congo, 28 November 2007.

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