Activities as Commissioner
1. In accordance with the rules of procedure of the African Commission, this report covers promotion activities since the 49th ordinary session of the African Commission, held in Banjul, the Gambia, in April-May 2011.
2. The report comprises activities carried out in our capacity as Commissioner for the Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities and member of the Committee on the Protection of Persons Living with HIV/AIDS and Persons at risk and Special Rapporteur on Women’s Rights in Africa.
I – Activities in our capacity as Commissioner:
3. From 14 - 16 June, 2011.In our capacity as foreign member, we participated in the Board Meeting on Rights and Democracy, held in Montreal. This is a Canadian institution working in Africa and other regions of the world on development of democracy and advocacy in the area of human rights.
4. From 19 -27 July, 2011.
We undertook a human rights promotion mission to the Republic of Niger in our capacity as Commissioner responsible for this country. One of the key objectives of this mission was to renew dialogue with the new authorities in Niger and to discuss issues and challenges bordering on the implementation of human rights as whole, vis-à-vis State actors, NGOs, women’s associations, parliamentarians, traditional chiefs as well as technical and financial partners. The mission was also intended to identify good practices compliance on the subject of human rights and fundamental liberties and to discuss innovative actions and strategies with a view to strengthening existing socio-economic programmes, plans and policies. A mission report will be prepared including the relevant recommendations in relation to the various actors we had the opportunity to meet.
5. From 26 to 27 August, 2011.
We participated in a workshop in Dakar on validation of the Report on 30 years of implementing the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights under the auspices of OSIWA. A working session was also held to take stock of the progress in the activities marking the 30th anniversary of the African Charter.
6. From 5 to 6 October, 2011.
We participated in the ACHPR Scientific Committee meeting in Nairobi. At this meeting, the report on the implementation of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights entitled: 30 years on; was presented and finalized. This report focuses on the obligations of States Parties, the measures adopted by the ACHPR as a follow-up action to support the States Parties in the implementation of their obligations. The report also takes stock of procedures initiated in vis-à-vis the States Parties.
7. From 13 to 14 October, 2011.
In our capacity as an international member of the Board on Rights and Democracy, we took part in a meeting in Montreal for the approval of different drafts on the promotion of human rights and consolidation of democracy, particularly in Africa and Latin America.
Activities as Working Group MemberCommittee on the Protection of the Rights of People Living With HIV (PLHIV) and Those at Risk, Vulnerable to and Affected by HIV
III- Activities carried out in my capacity as member of the Committee on the protection of persons living with HIV/AIDS and persons at risk
11. From 7 to 9 October 2011.
We participated in the second meeting of the Committee in Nairobi during which the rules of procedure of the Committee were formulated and adopted including the strategies for a partnership between the Committee and civil society NGOs. We also discussed issues to be tackled in a study which will address the issue of HIV/AIDS and human rights in collaboration with the African human rights system.
Activities as Working Group MemberWorking Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities in Africa
II – Activities carried out as member of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities
8. From 22 to 25 August, 2011.
We participated in a Regional Seminar in Brazzaville on Sensitization concerning the rights of Indigenous Populations/Communities in Central and East Africa.
9. The objectives of the seminar, among others, were to : explain and popularize the approach adopted by the African Commission both on the concept and on issues concerning the rights of indigenous populations in Africa ; to identify the challenges and problems faced in the different countries in protecting the rights of this vulnerable and marginalized segment of society ; and finally, to encourage the countries to ratify ILO Convention 169 and to adopt laws, policies and programmes aimed at promoting and protecting the indigenous populations, just like the system in Central African Republic and Congo.
10. On this occasion, the theme for the seminar was: « The ACHPR and the protection of the rights of indigenous populations: Development, Historical Background, Mandate, Activities and Future Prospects ». The seminar brought together Government representatives and agencies of the United Nations system, organs of the African Union, national human rights institutions, NGOs and indigenous people from Central and East Africa. Several recommendations were made to the stakeholders for synergy of actions designed to incorporate the concerns and needs of indigenous populations.
Activities as Special Rapporteur on Rights of Women
IV. Activities in my capacity as Special Rapporteur on Women’s Rights in Africa
A. Seminars and Meetings with civil society organisations and other partners involved in the promotion of women’s rights.
12. From 27 to 28 June, 2011
We participated in the 18th Pre-Summit on Gender Mainstreaming in the African Union (GIMAC) in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, convened by Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS) in partnership with the Economic Social, and Cultural Council (ECOSOC), the ECA, ILO, and the Mary Robinson Foundation on Climate Justice with the support of the Government of Equatorial Guinea.
13. The GIMAC is a discussion and proposal forum for Civil Society Organisations to evaluate the implementation of the African Union’s Gender Declaration on Equality (2004) and the Maputo Protocol (2005).
14. The GIMAC was attended by Ministers of Gender Affairs of Burundi, Zimbabwe, Equatorial Guinea including the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of South Africa and Seychelles, senior officials from UNESCO, UNICEF and UN-Women; their contributions on the need for gender mainstreaming into policies in Africa enhanced the quality and brilliance of the discussions.
15. The discussions focused on the implementation of the African Women’s Decade (2010 – 2020), the conflicts in Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia and in Sudan and their impact on women and children in the implementation of the Maputo Protocol and the Gender Declaration.
16. At the end of the discussions, recommendations were made vis-a-vis the Member States of the African Union, the African Union Commission and GIMAC. Specific recommendations were made to countries facing conflict situations and those preparing for elections. These recommendations were presented by a delegation of women leaders to different African public figures, and they served as a tool to lobby the Heads of State of Liberia and Uganda.
17. We participated in the meetings of the Executive Council and the Summit of Heads of State and Government.
18. From 03 to 04 September, 2011
We participated in the preparatory meetings and the launching of a Space for Dialogue, Exchanges and Actions of Women of Mali, in Bamako.
19. The space is a platform for women leaders in Mali to focus on objectives focused on rights, equity, dignity, empowerment, solidarity and the exercise of full citizenship rights by women.
20. From 2 to 4 October, 2011
We participated in a training of trainers programme on peacekeeping operations organised by the Department of Women, Gender and Development of the African Union in Nazareth (Ethiopia), in collaboration with the Peace and Security Department and in partnership with AU-UNDP and UN-Women. This training was attended by persons from various sectors, in particular NGO leaders, top male and female military officers, both women and men from several African countries including experts in the field of gender, peace and security. A draft manual was presented and amended. It is made up of several modules dealing with men and women’s issues in the area of armed conflict, the human rights of women, the architecture of the African Union vis-à-vis human rights, peace and security.B. Notes Verbales/ reminder notices to States Parties
21. Reminder notices were as usual sent to States which had not ratified the Maputo Protocol to encourage them to do so.
22. Notes verbales were sent to the Republic of Gabon and the Republic of Niger. Only Niger gave a favourable response to accept the promotion mission which was carried out in July.C. Press Releases / Declarations / Articles
23. June 2011
We drafted the preface of the « Operating Guide on the Maputo Protocol for Legal Actions ». This guide was formulated under the guidance of SOAWR and the NGO, Equality Now. SOAWR is a coalition of women’s NGOs working towards the promotion of women and girls’ rights in Africa.
24. July 2011.
We also issued a press release to encourage and commend the authorities of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea on the occasion of the ratification of the Maputo Protocol at the Head of States’ Summit in Malabo. The communiqué also went to the States that had not yet ratified this all important instrument.D. Activities carried out as part of the 50th ordinary session of the African Commission.
25. October 2011
Participation in the NGO Forum.
26. From 22 to 23 October, 2011
We also participated in the colloquium on the commemoration of the 30th Anniversary of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
27. We also took part in the meeting of the Working Group on indigenous populations/communities; and discussed items on the agenda at the meeting.
Conclusion and Recommendations
28. Since the last session, few positive changes have occurred in the legal status of women and girls. Thus, in spite of the dynamic and constant advocacy role played by both the mechanism and women’s organisations vis-a-vis policy makers and States Parties, only Equatorial Guinea ratified the Maputo Protocol at the Heads of State Summit in Malabo.
29. In many countries, especially the ones in conflict situations and in the horn of Africa: Somalia, Kenya and Uganda, the health and food situation of women and children, became even more precarious than ever as a result of the devastating famine situation in that part of Africa.
30. So many voices were raised calling on the International Community and Africa to mobilise emergency assistance aimed at addressing the suffering of thousands of women and children.
31. The mechanism would like to join its voice to these appeals as a cause for the respect for the right to life, health and the right to food which are basic human rights and their fulfillment is the responsibility of all.
To the African Union
32. Urging the Member States which have not yet done so, to ratify and/or accelerate the ratification process of the Maputo Protocol;
33. Encouraging the Member States that have ratified the Protocol to implement it and to present timely periodic reports to the African Commission based on Guidelines adopted to that effect.
34. Futher urging the countries that have not yet done so, to submit their annual report on progress they have made in integrating the gender dimension into policies and programmes in accordance with item 12 of the African Union’s Gender Declaration.
To the Member States
35. Accelerating the implementation of the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa; the ratification and implementation of the Maputo Protocol by the States that have not yet done so.
36. Creating opportunities for women to have access to land and be trained in new agricultural techniques to ensure increased productivity.
37. Developing and/or strengthening the funding agencies engaged in women entrepreneurship to enable women and girls to contribute effectively to sustainable development.
38. Ensuring that electoral processes take into due consideration the specific problems of women and the needs of women and girls.
To the African Commission
39. Carrying out the dissemination of the Guidelines for the presentation of State reporting according to the terms of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights relating to women’s rights in Africa.
40. Supporting the efforts of the Mechanism of the Special Rapporteur to enable it to support programmes and strategies of the African Union as part of the African Women’s Decade.