Your Excellency the Minister of Justice, representative of H.E. the President of the Republic of The Gambia;
Honourable Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights;
Your Excellencies, Ministers and Heads of Delegations of States Parties to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights;
Honourable Commissioners of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights;
Distinguished Representatives of the African Union Commission and the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights;
Distinguished Delegates of States Parties to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights;
Distinguished Representatives of National Human Rights Institutions;
Distinguished Members of Civil Society engaged in the promotion and respect for human rights on the African continent;
Distinguished Members of the Media;
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, all protocols observed;
As custom demands, at every session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), this great institution provides the opportunity for States Parties to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to make statements. On this occasion, I have the singular honour to make a statement on behalf of the States Parties. For this reason, on my own behalf and on behalf of the President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, current Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), H.E. Mr. Alassane Ouattara, I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the Chairperson of the ACHPR, Honourable Commissioner Catherine Dupe Atoki, and to all State delegates here present for the great honour done to my humble self and for the high esteem shown to my country, Côte d’Ivoire.
I would also like to express my gratitude to all State delegations here present in the Republic of The Gambia for the hospitality and all the facilities made available to ensure a pleasant stay for all the delegates.
Honourable Commissioners, Ladies and Gentlemen,
As I deliver this statement, many Africans continue to ask questions and are still wondering whether Human Rights do exist on our continent. Whether this is a legitimate question or not, it is nonetheless a topical issue. Various examples illustrate this assertion. For instance yesterday it was Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau and the North of Mali, and today it is the Central African Republic. All of this bears testimony to the fact that fighting for civil, political, social and cultural rights is still a concern on the African continent. Economic, social and cultural rights cannot be left out either, looking at the challenges confronting our governments in the fight against poverty. In the area of third-generation rights, the performance of our States is nothing we can boast about. The fight against global warming, the thorny issue of green development and the fight to make our world a habitable environment to be bequeathed to future generations point to the fact that our States need to redouble their efforts in their constant and renewed search for relevant solutions
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is therefore clear that the challenges are numerous and multi-faceted. To address these challenges, we need to explore the virtues of African solidarity and its revitalizing energy. That is the reason why such forums are most welcome. I would also like to thank the ACHPR and its dynamic Chairperson, Honourable Commissioner Catherine Dupe Atoki, for the opportunity she offers us to report on the status of human rights on our dear continent. It is a reality that there can be no development without peace, and therefore the lack of respect for human rights. At this juncture, we would like to commend the ACHPR for its relentless efforts and effectiveness in promoting and protecting human rights on the continent. It must certainly be acknowledged that a lot still remains to be done, but much has also been accomplished in the 25 years of existence of the ACHPR.
Concerning the States Parties, it is incumbent upon them to continue with their efforts aimed at providing their people with better living conditions and respect for their dignity as human beings. This is an obligation that no government can disregard, if it does not want to betray the trust reposed in it by its people and this is where the Commission must work to assist African governments.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I cannot end my statement without turning to our governments by appealing to them to provide adequate and substantial resources to support the Commission, which, in spite of its meagre resources, is carrying out a laudable duty as I mentioned earlier on. It is our responsibility to help the Commission and we should be able to do so. Failure to accomplish this mission would be a betrayal of the trust of the signatories to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, who took a bold decision on 27 June, 1981 in Nairobi, to give Africa a mechanism for the protection of the rights of citizens to ensure a comprehensive and sustainable development of the continent.
Thank you for your kind attention!
Done in Banjul, 09 April, 2013
Gnénéma Mamadou COULIBALY
Minister of Justice, Keeper of the Seals,
Human Rights and Public Freedoms
REPUBLIC OF CÔTE D’IVOIRE