During the intersession the following activities have been carried out in relation to the Working Group on the Rights of Older Persons and People with Disabilities.
1. A paper to be published by the University of London on the Rights of Older Persons in Africa and People with disabilities has been reviewed and sent to the publishers;
2. The draft Protocol on the Rights of Older Persons which came up for discussion at the 48th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) has been reviewed in both the English and French versions. This revised edition will now serve as working document before finalization at the level of the Working Group and at the level of the ACHPR before dispatch to the African Union.
The Working Group has so far focused on the elaboration of a Draft Protocol on the Rights of Older Persons since it was the initial mandate of the focal point which eventually was transformed into a Working Group.
Focus will henceforth be placed on the other segment of the Working Group’s mandate in relation to the Rights of People With Disabilities in Africa, and the African Commission resolved at its 48th Ordinary Session that the membership of the Working Group be enhanced by three (3) additional members.
A call for candidates has accordingly been published in the website of the African Commission and a selection exercise is scheduled to be carried out during this very session.
Apart from my mandate as chairperson of the Working Group on the Rights of Older Persons and People with Disabilities, I have been engaged with the programme of the UNODC to curtail piracy in the Indian Ocean and to bring pirates operating in that region to stand trial.
Colleagues may be aware that pirates operating in that region adversely affect the economy of small island states like the Seychelles, the Comoros and Mauritius which depend on tourism activities relating to ocean cruises and pleasure crafts. These have greatly diminished in the recent years because of piracy activities in the region. Under the aegis of the United Nations, Seychelles and Kenya have agreed to set up special Courts to try piracy cases committed on the high seas. Mauritius will soon follow suit towards the end of this year. Piracy in the African region is unfortunately the result of lawlessness in one particular State. Whilst there may have been some glamoured picture of poor seamen eking out a living in the style of Robin Hood, this perception has now dramatically moved to another much more serious stage of organized crime, hostage taking, and culpable conduct leading to serious violations of human rights. One thing is clear: Piracy gives Africa a bad name and I would request that the African Commission may well consider in its agenda ways and means at its disposal to help remove that scourge from the African shores.
V. THE ACTIVITIES CARRIED OUT IN MY CAPACITY AS MEMBER OF THE WORKING GROUP ON THE RIGHTS OF ELDERLY PERSONS AND DISABLED PERSONS
42. The Draft Protocol on the rights of Elderly persons had been submitted to the Commission for consideration during the 48th Ordinary Session; and on the basis of the observations made by the members of the ACHPR, the Draft Protocol document will be submitted in the near future.
43. Regarding the Draft Protocol on the rights of Disabled Persons, the meetings are still going on within the Working Group.
44. From 18 to 21 April 2011, I participated, at the invitation of the United Nations in New York, in the First Ordinary Session of the Working Group with enlarged membership on the rights of Elderly Persons. One of this Working Group’s key assignments is to examine the utility, in collaboration with all the stakeholders, of drafting a specific legal instrument for Elderly Persons. During these deliberations, I made a presentation on the state of African law in this field, on the established mechanisms, on the achievements registered in the protection of the rights of Elderly Persons and the shortcomings which have been observed.
45. It would appear from the numerous panel meetings organized in this regard that the issue of the rights of Elderly Persons is the subject of concern at the African, American, European and Asiatic regional levels. At the States’ national level, it would also appear that programmes and policies are put in place keeping in mind the cultural, social and economic realities of the stakeholders. At the global level, the opportuneness of having a specific law for Elderly Persons or the establishment of a protection instrument such as the mechanism of Special Rapporteur; all of this based on appropriate research studies.
(included in Inter-session activity report of Commissioner Reine Alapini Gansou)