Activities as Working Group ChairpersonWorking Group on Rights of Older Persons and People with Disabilities
1. On 5 August 2011 I gave clearance for the publication of a Chapter entitled “The Rights of Older Persons and People with Disabilities in Africa” in a Book entitled “The African Regional Human Rights System: 30 years after the African Charter on Human & Peoples’ Rights and Beyond”. That book is being published under the editorship of Dr Manisuli Ssenyonjo. The chapter is co-authored by the Secretariat of the African Commission on Human & Peoples’ Rights and myself. A copy of the Chapter is placed on record.
2. On 15 and 16 September 2011, I represented the Commission at a Consultation Meeting on the African Charter on the Value and Principles of Public Service and Administration held in Mauritius. The meeting was organized by the African Union Commission [AUC] and was attended by some 20 delegates from Africa including Mrs Julia Dolly Joiner, Commissioner for Political Affairs and Ambassador Emile Ognimba of the AUC. On the margins of that meeting Mauritius became the 14th Signatory of the Charter which was adopted by African Heads of State and Government in January 2011.
3. From 19 to 21 October 2011, I attended the 8th Biennial Conference of African Human Rights Institutions in Cape Town, Republic of South Africa entitled “Advancing the Human Rights of Older Persons and Persons with Disabilities – the Role of African National Human Rights Institutions”. I chaired one Work Session entitled “Overview of older persons in Africa, current human rights status, challenges and conflicts that affect this vulnerable group”. Two of the three new members of our Working Group on the Rights of Older Persons and People with Disabilities, namely Ms Isabella Aboderin, and Mr Lawrence Mute also participated in the Conference.
4. On 29 September 2011, following an exchange of correspondence between the Department of Social Affairs of the AUC (the Department) and the Secretariat of the ACHPR, I requested the Secretariat to invite the Department to attend the meeting of the Working Group which was to be held within the margin of the present 50th Ordinary Session on the 24 and 25 October 2011. The Department was represented by two senior officers, Dr. Johan Strijdom and Mr Lefhoko Kesamang, who participated in the discussions of the Working Group.
The draft Protocol on the Rights of Older Persons in Africa was discussed and updated. However, in the light of substantial new input to the draft from new member Dr Aboderin, the Working Group resolved that the Commission be apprised of the need for a further meeting of the Working Group to be held at the earliest so that an enhanced and improved text be definitely ready for adoption during the 51 Session of the Commission. The Secretariat was requested to prepare a paper setting out all the ways and means which ought to be engaged into by the Working Group in its mandate to promote and protect the rights of older persons beyond the efforts put into the drafting of the Protocol.
The Working Group also reconsidered the propriety of drafting a Protocol on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa, considering that the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities became effective in 2008. It is understood that some 25 African States had ratified the UN Convention. The Working Group found that there was a need for an African specific Protocol on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities so that efforts will have to be put into drawing up a Concept Paper outlining the specific needs which are to be catered for in the projected draft protocol by the end of the year. Apart from the Concept Paper, a first draft of the Protocol on The Rights of Persons with Disabilities is also to be put up for discussion before the 51 Ordinary session of the Commission by the Working Group.