196: Resolution on Human Rights Defenders in Africa

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights meeting at its 50th Ordinary Session held from 24th  October to 5th  November 2011, in Banjul, The Gambia;

Recalling its Resolution ACHPR/69(XXXV) on the protection of human rights defenders in Africa and its Resolution ACHPR/Res.119 (XXXXII) 07 on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in Africa;

Recalling the human rights protection instruments, particularly the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders in 1998, the Grand Bay Declaration and its Plan of action adopted by the OAU Ministerial Conference on the promotion and protection of Human Rights in Africa in 1999, the Kigali Declaration African adopted by the African Union (AU) Ministerial Conference on Human Rights in Africa meeting in 2003;

Recalling the decision of the 33rd Ordinary Session of the African Commission (May 2003) which ruled such interference with human rights defenders’ human rights work to be an express violation of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights;

Bearing in mind the commitment of the States parties of the African Union in the Grand Bay (Mauritius) Declaration to implement the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders;

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, of association, of expression of human rights defenders;

Deeply concerned about the difficult environment in which those who cooperate with african human rights system including human rights defenders in Africa are working in Africa which is characterized in several countries by the persistence of arbitrary arrests and detentions, acts of harassment including judicial harassment, threats and other forms of intimidation, of summary and extra-judicial executions and even acts of torture as a result of their activities;

Concerned by the impunity that the perpetrators of these acts of violence and reprisal against those who cooperate with african human rights system including human rights defenders continue to enjoy in a large number of African countries;

Recognizing the crucial contribution of the work of those who cooperate with african human rights system including human rights defenders in promoting human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Africa;

Strongly condemns all acts of violence against the activities of those who cooperate with african human rights system, including human rights defenders and condemns also all form of violence and reprisal against them;

Reminds all States parties of the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights of their commitment to the fundamental rights and freedoms as recognised by the African Charter and other regional and international instruments;

Calls on States to recognize the role of human rights defenders in the promotion and protection of rights and freedoms as recognised by the African Charter and other regional and international instruments;

Encourages States to adopt specific legislation on the protection of human rights defenders;

Urges the States to release the human rights defenders who are arbitrarily detained and to put an end to the judicial harassment and other acts of intimidation against human rights defenders;

Encourages the States to take all necessary measures to initiate independent investigations on cases of violations of the rights of human rights defenders so as to prosecute and judge the perpetrators.

Urges all States to prevent and refrain from all acts of intimidation or reprisal against individuals or groups who seize the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

 

Done at Banjul, 05 November 2011