185: Resolution on the Safety of Journalists and Media Practitioners in Africa

    The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Commission), meeting at its 49th Ordinary Session, held in Banjul, The Gambia, from 28 April – 12 May 2011:

    Recalling its mandate to promote and protect human and peoples’ rights pursuant to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Charter);

    Underscoring that freedom of expression and access to information are fundamental human rights guaranteed by Article 9 of the African Charter, and other international and regional human rights treaties;

    Reaffirming its commitment to promote the rights of all peoples “to national and international peace and security” in line with Article 23 of the African Charter;

    Further reaffirming its commitment to protect the rights of journalists and media practitioners in Africa to freedom of expression and access to information;

    Recalling Resolution ACHPR/Res.62 (XXXII) 02 on the adoption of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa, which elaborates on the scope of Article 9 of the African Charter; Resolution ACHPR/Res.54 (XXIX) 01 on the Situation of Freedom of Expression in Africa; Resolution ACHPR/Res.99 (XXXX) 06 on the Deteriorating Situation of Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa;

    Recalling the United Nations Security Council’s Resolution 1738 (2006), which condemns attacks against journalists in conflict situations, and UNESCO Resolution 29(1997) on "Condemnation of Violence Against Journalists" adopted by the UNESCO General Conference ;

    Noting that freedom of expression, press freedom and access to information can only be enjoyed when journalists and media practitioners are free from intimidation, pressure and coercion;

    Concerned by the declining safety and security situation of journalists and media pr actitioners in some African countries;

    Noting that killings, attacks and kidnapping of journalists, which are contrary to international humanitarian and human rights law, are often committed in an environment of impunity;

    Deeply concerned about the frequency of allegations of the violations of killings and injury against journalists and media practitioners;

    • Calls on States Parties to the African Charter, to take all necessary measures to uphold their obligations under the African Charter and other international and regional instruments, providing for the right to freedom of expression and access to information;
    • Urges States Parties to the African Charter , to implement the principles enshrined in the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa;
    • Calls on States Parties to the African Charter and concerned authorities to fulfil their obligation on preventing and investigating all crimes allegedly committed against journalists and media practitioners and also to bring the perpetrators to justice;
    • Urges all parties involved in situations of armed conflicts to respect the independence and freedom of journalists and media practitioners to exercise their profession and guarantee their safety and security in accordance with international humanitarian law;
    • Finally urges States Parties to African Charter, to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa of the African Commission, in the execution of its mandate.

    Done in Banjul, The Gambia, 12 May 2011.

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