Activities as Working Group ChairpersonWorking Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights Violations
(November 2012- April 2013)
Commissioner Pacifique Manirakiza
Presented at the 53rd Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
Banjul, The Gambia
9 - 23 April 2013
- The present Report is submitted pursuant to Rules 23(3) and 72 of the Rules of Procedure of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission), and covers the activities conducted between November 2012 and April 2013.
- This Report presents activities undertaken by Honorable Commissioner Pacifique Manirakiza in the following capacity:
- Member of the Commission;
- Member, Working Group on Communications;
- Member, Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities in Africa;
- Chairperson, Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights Violations in Africa.
- The Report concludes with a section on general challenges experienced during the inter-session period and recommendations to various stakeholders.
I. ACTIVITIES CONDUCTED IN MY CAPACITY AS MEMBER OF THE COMMISSION
4. In my capacity as Member of the Commission, I took part as a speaker on a panel discussion on the following theme: Human Rights in Africa: Market Place or Basket Case, on 15th November 2012, which was convened by the Human Rights Research and Education Centre of the University of Ottawa. My intervention focused on Africa’s contribution to the development of human rights norms and jurisprudence. This activity was initiated by me and Prof. Levitt, a human rights’ Fulbright Scholar at the Centre, in order to showcase the work of the Commission and other African institutions with a human rights mandate.
5. On behalf of the Commission, and as the Commissioner responsible for promotion of human rights in the Republic of Kenya, I signed a Request for Provisional Measures with regards to Case No. 006/2012 – African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights v. The Republic of Kenya, on 28 December 2012, which is pending before the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Court). As you all are undoubtedly aware, the Court ruled in the Commission’s favor, stating in the opinion of the Court that “there exists a situation of extreme gravity and urgency, as well as a risk of irreparable harm to the Ogiek Community with regard to violation of their rights guaranteed under the Charter.” With regard to the same case, I prepared and submitted on 13 March, 2013 the observations of the Commission on preliminary matters raised by the Respondent State in the above case.
6. On 18th March 2013, per invitation of the War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity of the Ministry of Justice of Canada Section, I gave a talk on “The Africanization of International Criminal Justice.” My presentation portrayed the new developments in international criminal justice on the Continent; inter alia, the implication of the extension of the jurisdiction of the African Court to include international crimes on the work of the International Criminal Court (the ICC) in Africa.
7. From 18 - 25 February 2013, I participated in the 13th Extra-Ordinary Session, held in Banjul, The Gambia, which was convened to deal with the backlog of Communications and other outstanding matters.
Activities conducted on the margins of the 53rd Ordinary Session
8. On the margins of the 53rd Ordinary Session, I undertook a number of activities, including:-
- I chaired an interactive exchange forum organized as part of the special interest groups on the theme Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights Violations, which was convened by the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS), on 7th April 2013. To this end, two Special Mechanisms were invited to the discussion: The Working Group on Populations/Indigenous Communities in Africa and the Working Group on Extractive Industries. The areas of collaboration between these Mechanisms were identified as the conduct of joint studies on issues of common interest like the impact of extractive activities on the indigenous peoples.
- Participation in my capacity as a panelist in a discussion on “Cooperation and Governance of Water Resources and Human Rights”, Sunday 7th April 2013;”
- Meeting with civil society organizations and other partners to exchange opinions on the human rights situation in the Republic of Kenya, Monday 8th April 2013;
- Participation in my capacity as panellist in a discussion on transitional justice in Africa, Monday 8th April 2013;
- Participation in my capacity in the exchange of opinions on the Masstricht Principles on Extra-territorial Obligations of States, Wednesday 9th April 2013.
9. Finally, in my capacity as member of the Commission, I would like to emphasize that the United Republic of Tanzania graciously accepted my request to conduct a human rights monitoring and promotion mission in the country. Originally, this mission was slated to be conducted from 10 to 19 December 2012; however, following unforeseen financial difficulties at the Commission, it had to be postponed. I therefore wish to reiterate my gratitude to the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania for its openness to a constructive dialogue with the Commission, and further call upon the Government to consent to the request for the said mission to be held from 17 to 26 June 2013.
II. ACTIVITIES CONDUCTED IN MY CAPACITY AS MEMBER OF THE WORKING GROUP ON COMMUNICATIONS
10. In my capacity as a Member of the Commission’s Working Group on Communication, which was established by Resolution ACHPR/Res 194(L) 11, I participated in a meeting held on the margins of the 13th Extra-Ordinary Session, on 17th February 2013.
11. During this meeting, eleven (11) Communications on Seizure were presented and considered, with three (3) of these Communications being considered for Provisional Measures: The Commission then upheld to have been seized of ten (10) Communications, and one (1) Communication on Seizure, and three (3) requests for Provisional Measures referred to the Plenary for further discussion.
III. ACTIVITIES CONDUCTED IN MY CAPACITY AS MEMBER OF THE WORKING GROUP ON INDIGENOUS POPULATIONS/COMMUNITIES IN AFRICA
12. During the inter-session period, the following activities were carried out by the Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities in Africa:
(a) Meeting of the Working Group, Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania,
21 to 23 November 2012
13. The Working Group convened an internal meeting in Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania, from 21 to 22 November 2012, during which discussions focused on activities carried out by Members of the Group during the intersession period. Additionally, on 23 November 2012, the Working Group officially launched its promotional video film entitled, “A Question of Justice: Indigenous Peoples’ Rights in Africa.”
14. However, due to unforeseen contingencies, I was unable to attend this meeting.
(b) Bi-Annual Meeting of the Working Group, Banjul, The Gambia, 7 to 8 April 2013,
15. I attended the Working Group’s meeting, held on the margins of the 53rd Ordinary Session, which was an opportunity for Members to assess the activities undertaken during the inter-session period. Further, activities for the next intersession period were mapped out.
16. Members of the Working Group also had the opportunity to interact with Professor James Anaya, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Madam Rita Izsák, UN Independent Expert on Minority Issues, and a Commissioner of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) . During these interactions, areas of common interest were considered and the building blocks of future collaboration were laid.
17. The Working Group also received and interacted with representatives from indigenous populations/communities from the Republics of Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo and the United Republic of Tanzania, which provided the opportunity to hold discussions on the situation of indigenous communities in those countries.
18. Finally, I participated in an exchange workshop on the rights of indigenous peoples in which representatives of the Inter-American Human Rights System, the United Nations Human Rights System and the South-East Asian Human Rights System participated.
IV. ACTIVITIES CONDUCTED BY THE WORKING GROUP ON EXTRACTIVE INDUSTRIES, ENVIRONMENT AND HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN AFRICA
19. I would like to begin my Report by noting that the Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights Violations in Africa (the Working Group on Extractive Industries) has faced serious financial constraints, which greatly curtailed its activities during the inter-session period and during 2012 as well. As a result of these constraints, the Working Group was not able to hold its annual meeting either. However, we decided to use new information and communication technology in order keep in contact with our Members.
20. Thus, two conferences via skype were organized. During one of these conferences held on 21 December 2012, the following issues were the subject of exchanges: information communication on the status of research carried out by Experts’ Members, criteria for the selection of partners of the Working Group like the NGOs, universities etc.., 2013 Working Plan particularly visits to the targeted countries, consultations and regional reports to be presented to the 53 and 54 Ordinary Sessions of the Commission. Furthermore, I presented a brief report to the Group of a meeting with Mr. Michael Ado, a Member of the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights .The Working Group ended its work by identifying certain activities which the members of the Group will be tasked to implement.
21. However, I am happy to report that the Working Group has recently been awarded a grant by one of its partners, and with these financial resources, the Working Group on Extractive Industries will be able to carry out activities which are considered to be critical to the fulfillment of its mandate.
22. During the inter-session period, the following activities were carried out by the Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights Violations in Africa.
(a) Conference Call of the Working Group on Extractive Industries, 21st December 2012
23. In line with the Working Group’s Work Plan, which proposes three skype conference calls per year to ensure regular consultations within the Group, the Working Group convened a skype conference call of Members on 21st December 2012.
24. During one of these conference calls on 21 December, 2012, the following issues were discussed: a briefing on the status of research being conducted by Expert Members; criteria for the selection of the Working Group’s partners; such as NGOs, Universities, etc; the Work Plan for 2013, including proposed country visits, regional consultations and reports to present to the 53rd and 54th Ordinary Sessions of the Commission. Additionally, I gave a briefing to the Group of a meeting with Mr. Michael Ado, a Member of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights. The Working Group concluded by setting a number of follow up activities to be conducted by Members of the Group.
25. Furthermore, Working Group members proposed Liberia or Cameroon for the Working Group’s inaugural country mission. However, due to a number of circumstances, this mission could not be held. Consequently, it has been suggested that a mission should be organized in the month of July.
26. On 12 April, 2013, the Members of the Working Group present in Banjul met with representatives of the Institute for Sustainable Development, an organization working in Liberia, in order to plan our next mission to this country.
(b) Collaboration with the United Nations Special Mechanisms
Participation of the Expert Member in the First Annual United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights, 3 to 5 December 2012
27. As part of the Roadmap establishing collaboration between the Special Mechanisms of the United Nations System and those of the African Commission , our Working Group took part in a number of activities, Mr. Gilbert Maoundonodjil, an Expert Member was designated to represent the Working Group at first Forum on Business and Human Rights, organized by the United Nations Working Group on Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and other Business Enterprises held in Geneva from 3-5 December, 2012.
28. On 3 March, 2013, Mr. Clément Voulé, an Expert Member of the Working Group, represented the Working Group in a working meeting with the United Nations Independent Expert on Human Rights and the Environment. During this meeting, the areas of collaboration were identified.
29. I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to these two United Nations Special Mechanisms for this opportunity for collaboration, and look forward to future interaction between the two Special Procedures.
(c) Planned Activities
30. The Working Group intends to hold an internal meeting in the Republic of South Africa, from 6 to 8 May 2013. On the margins of this meeting, the Working intends :
- To pay a visit to the Marikana mine, and
- To hold a consultation meeting with civil society and the communities affected by the extractive industry.
(d) Activities conducted on the margins of the 53rd Ordinary Session
31. On the margins of the 53rd Ordinary Session, the Working Group facilitated a side event, jointly hosted by Forest Peoples Programme, the Centre for Development and Environment (CED) of Cameroon and the Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) from Liberia). The Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights joined the discussion panel. The objective of this meeting was to consider the following theme: “Extractives industries, environment and human rights in Africa: cases from Cameroon, Liberia and Kenya”. I participated in this event to which I was invited to give an opening statement. Following the interesting discussions on this theme, it was decided that a forum for exchanges on the extractive industry and human rights in Africa instituted on the margins of each Ordinary Session of the Commission.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
32. As the Commissioner responsible for monitoring the human rights situation in the Republic of Benin, the Republic of Kenya, Guinea Bissau, the Republic of Mozambique and the United Republic of Tanzania, I would like to take this opportunity to:
· Commend the Republic of Mozambique for submitting its Periodic Report, in line with Article 62 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights – this report will be considered at the Commission’s 54th Ordinary Session.
· Commend the people of Kenya for the peaceful manner in which the recent general elections were conducted. Given the numerous irregularities observed during the registration, voting and tallying process, I would like to call on the relevant institution in the country to conduct an audit to look into these alleged irregularities in order to avoid their reoccurrence in future electoral processes.
- In conclusion, I would like to call upon:
- The African Union to provide the African Commission with the necessary human and material resources to enable it to carry out the activities under its mandate;
- The States, civil society and national human rights institutions working in the field of extractive industries to collaborate with the Working Group on Extractive Industries, as stated in the Resolution on the Establishment of a Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights Violations in Africa [ACHPR/Res.148 (XLVI)09];
- State Parties to comply with their obligations, particularly the provisions under Article 62.
 Application No 006/2012: The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights v. The Republic of Kenya; http://www.african-court.org/en/index.php/news/latest-news/356-the-african-court-delivers-one-judgment-and-issues-2-orders-for-provisional-measures