+220 441 05 05-6 | au-banjul@africa-union.org

اللجنة الأفريقية لحقوق الإنسان والشعوب

توغو: التقرير الأولي، 1982-1992

تغطية المدة:1982 - 1992

تاريخ التقديم: نيسان 07 , 1993

نظرت الدورة:13th Ordinary Session


الملاحظات الختامية والتوصيات - توغو: التقرير الأولي، 1982-1992

اعتمد في الدورة العادية رقم 13 آذار 29 to نيسان 07 , 1993 ,Gambie.

1. The African Commission recommends that the Government of Angola should:

I.    Ensure that all the relevant stakeholders, including human rights NGOs, are involved in the preparation of periodic reports;

II. Ensure that future reports conform to the Guidelines on State Reporting under the African Charter and the Maputo Protocol;

III.   Take the necessary measures to ratify and domesticate the following regional and international legal instruments:

 The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Court Protocol), and make the declaration under Article 34(6) of the Court Protocol to allow direct access for individuals and NGOs to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights; The African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance; The African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (Kampala Convention); The African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption; The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and its Optional Protocol; The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination; The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol; The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families; The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide; The Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; and The Optional Protocol to the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

IV.    Adopt the appropriate legislative measures, plans, policies and programmes to give effect to the provisions of the African Charter and the Maputo Protocol;

V.     Ensure dissemination of the African Charter and the Maputo Protocol to the public, including through translating the texts into the local languages;

VI.    Include current statistics and gender disaggregated data in the next periodic report;

VII.   Include, in the next periodic report, specific information on the provision of legal and judicial assistance services to underprivileged citizens;

VIII.  Establish an independent national human rights institution in accordance with the Paris Principles; 

IX.    Adopt specific legislation criminalizing torture in accordance with the provisions of the Guidelines and Measures on the Prohibition and Prevention of Torture, Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment (the Robben Island Guidelines);

X.     Ensure training on and dissemination of the Robben Island Guidelines to all judicial personnel and prison officers;

XI.    Provide in its next Periodic Report, comprehensive information on prisons and conditions of detention;

XII.   Take all necessary measures to reduce overcrowding in prisons, such as adopting alternative sentencing policies and imposing non-custodial sentences such as community service;

XIII.  Adopt all appropriate measures to ban forced evictions without prior consultation and ensure adequate compensation to people who are evicted from their homes; 

XIV. Take all necessary measures to ensure allocation of the required budget to the health sector;

XV.  Strengthen reproductive health programmes and policies in order to ensure increased access to family planning by women and adolescent girls;

XVI. Increase the number of health centres in order to reduce the high maternal and child mortality rate, with emphasis on providing free, adequate and available services to rural women and women from indigenous communities;

XVII.Strengthen existing education policies and programmes to ensure reduced gender disparity at all levels of education; 

XVIII.   Take all necessary measures to implement the Law against Domestic Violence enacted in 2011, including through adopting a national plan of action on violence against women and girls;   

XIX. Adopt a national plan of action for implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1325, in order to increase the participation of women in conflict prevention and management; 

XX.  Adopt affirmative action measures in order to increase the representation and participation of Angolan women in all decision-making institutions;

XXI.  Ensure that relevant programmes are put in place to protect and provide assistance to migrants and refugees living in the country; 

XXII. Expedite the process to finalize the study and review of the Law on the Status of Refugees by the Inter-sectoral Commission, in order to guarantee the rights of refugees in Angola; 

XXIII.Expedite measures taken in the area of programmes to remove anti-personnel mines and other explosive ordinances;   

XXIV.  Strengthen its public policy services, programmes and projects which ensure protection of the rights of people with disabilities; 

XXV. Continue to take all necessary measures to improve care for the elderly, including through development of a National Action Plan for the Protection of Older Persons, and concerted implementation of Decree No.14/06 on the Regulation of the Conditions of Installation and Operation of Elderly Care Homes;

XXVI.  Adopt legislative measures and establish relevant policies and programmes to address human trafficking, with emphasis on the protection of women and children;

XXVII.Adopt legislative measures to recognize the rights of indigenous communities in Angola, and strengthen the existing programmes and policies regarding them, with adequate financial resources provided; 

XXVIII.Take all necessary measures to guarantee the rights of persons working in extractive industries;

XXIX.  Guarantee free access to anti-retroviral drugs, ensuring access to vulnerable groups, specifically women, children and indigenous communities; 

XXX.   Strengthen programmes to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, in particular programmes targeting youths;

XXXI.  Continue to take all necessary measures to guarantee that free and compulsory primary education is universal, including ensuring access to children from indigenous communities;

XXXII. Take the appropriate legislative measures to decriminalize press offences and guarantee freedom of expression and access to information; 

XXXIII. Adopt legislative measures to guarantee freedom of association and ensure the protection of human rights defenders;

XXXIV. Inform the African Commission, in its next Periodic Report, of measures taken to ensure implementation of the recommendations contained in the present Concluding Observations, and in the Promotion Mission report of April 2010.

deferred to the next Extra-Ordinary Session of the Commission​

Forty-Fifth Ordinary Session
13 - 27 May 2009, Banjul, The Gambia

Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties under the Terms of 
Article 62 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights

Concluding Observations and Recommendations on the Third Periodic Report of the Republic of Sudan (2003-2008)


I - Introduction

1. The Republic of Sudan (Sudan) is a State Party to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Charter) having ratified it on 18 February 1986.

2. Sudan presented its Initial Report to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Commission) during its 21st Ordinary Session held from 15 to 24 April 1997, in Nouakchott, Mauritania. Sudan’s Second Periodic Report was presented at the 33rd Ordinary Session of the African Commission held from 15 to 29 May 2003 in Niamey, Niger.

3. The present Concluding Observations follow the presentation and examination of the Third Periodic Report of Sudan, covering the period from 2003 to 2008. The Delegation was led by Mr Abdel Hameed A. Mohamed, who presented the Report.

4. The present Concluding Observations give an account of the positive aspects, and concerns identified from the Report. The comments, remarks and observations during the examination of the Report enhanced the recommendations formulated after the dialogue.

II - Positive Aspects

The African Commission:

5. Welcomes the presentation of the Report by the Government of Sudan in accordance with Article 62 of the African Charter and the fact that both the format and presentation of the Report are in conformity with the African Commission’s Guidelines on State Reporting.

6. Appreciates the quality of the Report and the constructive dialogue it had with its delegation which allowed for a fuller assessment of the State Party’s compliance with its obligations under the African Charter and welcomes the positive reactions to the suggestions and recommendations made during the discussion.

7. Notes that though the Government of Sudan had not submitted its 3rd Periodic Report within the time stipulated under Article 62 of the African Charter, it must be commended for preparing and submitting it given the difficult political circumstances the country finds itself in.

8. Appreciates the update given to it by the Government of Sudan regarding the various treaties the latter has signed to achieve peace in Sudan. It commends the Government of Sudan for signing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) on 9 January 2005, in Nairobi, Kenya, which included the right to self determination for Southern Sudan. The African Commission notes that the 2005 CPA established a new Government of National Unity (GNU) and the Interim Government of Southern Sudan.

9. Notes and welcomes the signing of the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) in Abuja under the auspices of the African Union (AU) on 5 May 2006 between the Sudanese Government and the Sudan Liberation Army led by Minni Arkou Minawi (SLA/MM).

10. Commends the Government of Sudan for adopting the 2005 Interim Constitution, which provides for extensive protection of rights in Sudan.

11. Commends the Government of Sudan for ensuring that the Interim Constitution contains explicit provisions protecting the rights of women and guarantees that the minimum marriage age for females is 18.

12. Welcomes the fact that the 2005 Interim Constitution not only bans torture, slavery and other forms of inhuman treatment, but also criminalises all forms of servitude.

13. The African Commission commends the Government of Sudan for ratifying numerous regional and international human rights instruments which have become part of Sudanese National Laws as provided for in the Interim Constitution.

14. Commends the Government of Sudan for setting up an independent Human Rights Commission.

15. Welcomes the effort being made by the Government of Sudan to put an end to extra-judicial killings and impunity by ensuring that perpetrators are arrested, charged, speedily brought to justice and punished where they are found guilty. It also welcomes efforts by the Government of Sudan to punish members of the security forces that mistreat detainees or prisoners.

16. Welcomes the Government’s efforts and measures taken to address the poor conditions of detainees by the setting up of Community Police Training Centres, special detention units for children and the Special Bureau for Detainee Affairs and a Medical Unit.

17. Appreciates the openness of the Government of Sudan in acknowledging that despite efforts to eradicate harmful cultural practice, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) still persists. It notes that the Government of Sudan is working towards its eradication.

18. Notes the effort being made by the Government of Sudan in its fight for eradicating violence against women. It notes the high percentage of women in Government, universities and other public offices.

19. Welcomes the Government’s efforts to address the problem of street children and programmes that excludes children from joining the multiplicity of armed groups. It particularly welcomes the disarmament, demobilisation ad reintegration programme that aims to bring them back to their families and integrate them into society. It also commends the Government of Sudan for enacting a Children’s Act and for setting up the National Commission of Children responsible for providing material comfort for needy children especially those who have been internally displaced.

III - Factors Restricting the Enjoyment of the Rights Guaranteed in the African Charter 

20. The African Commission acknowledges the account in the Periodic Report that war has been largely responsible for the lack of enjoyment of human rights, and for the vast array of human rights problems taking place in Sudan. In 2008, Sudan continues to cope with the countrywide effects of conflicts, displacement and insecurity.

21. The African Commission also notes that the May 2006 Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) is too limited in scope and with too few signatories and may actually impede Sudan’s peacemaking efforts.

IV - Areas of Concern

While recognising the efforts of Sudan to promote and protect human rights and to create awareness on the principles and provisions of the African Charter, the African Commission is concerned that:

22. Since gaining independence on 1 January 1956, Sudan has been faced with many political, social and ethnic challenges characterized by serious violations of human rights.

23. The conflicts in Darfur and the East, combined with the continuing effects of the former war in Southern Sudan have impacted negatively on the enjoyment of human rights in Sudan.

24. Government-aligned militia (janjaweed), Darfur rebel groups, and tribal factions continue to commit serious abuses of human rights.

25. Tensions and violence have persisted in the South over the implementation of the CPA. It is concerned that conflict on the Country's Western border with Chad is, in part, a spill-over of the conflict in Darfur and, in part, attributable to Chadian rebel forces based in Darfur who are opposed to the rule of Chadian President Idriss Derby.

26. In October 2007, lack of progress on issues such as North-South border demarcation and disagreements about North-South sharing of oil revenues threatened to erode the CPA as the SPLM threatened a permanent withdrawal from the Government of National Unity.

27. Credible reports still indicate that serious human rights violations like indiscriminate bombing of villages and schools, extrajudicial and other unlawful killings by government forces and other government-aligned groups still take place.

28. UN Resolution 1591 is not being adhered to by all sides involved in the conflict. (1)

29. Torture, beatings, rape, and other cruel, inhuman treatment or punishment by security forces still persist.

30. Sexual violence against women in Darfur still takes place.

31. Women still cannot travel abroad without the permission of their husbands or male guardians.

32. Child labour and recruitment of child soldiers, particularly in Darfur still take place.

33. Trafficking in persons, discrimination and violence against ethnic minorities, forced labour by security forces by both aligned and non-aligned militias in Southern Sudan and Darfur is still prevalent.

34. Despite efforts by the Government of Sudan to address the issue of prison conditions, harsh prison conditions, arbitrary arrest and detention, including incommunicado detention of suspected government opponents, are still taking place.

35. Though the Constitution guarantees judicial independence – lawyers wishing to practice are required to maintain membership in the government-controlled Bar Association.

36. Television and newspaper reporters are often arrested, imprisoned, beaten and tortured for doing their jobs.

37. Though Sudan signed the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), it is yet to ratify it. The African Commission is also not clear how far the Robben Island Guidelines is being used to train police and prison officials.

38. Article 33 of the National Security Act seems to give immunity from persecution for some members of the Sudanese Security Service.

39. Sudan currently bears the burden of more than 1 million refugees most of whom come from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Chad and Congo. Most of these refugees took refuge in the Sudan from the 1960s and that many of these refugees have still not been integrated into Sudanese society to be full citizens.

40. The plight of millions of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who have been displaced as a result of war and other man made crises seem to be under-played in the Report.

41. The Government of Sudan continues to use the death penalty and that in 2008, eight people were executed.

42. Sudan has not yet signed and ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.



(1) Resolution 1591 censored the Government of Sudan and rebels in Darfur for having failed to comply with several previous UNSC resolutions, for ceasefire violations, and for human rights abuses. The resolution also called on all parties to resume the Abuja talks and to support a peaceful settlement to the conflict in Darfur. It also forms a Monitoring Committee charged with enforcing a travel ban and asset freeze of those determined to impede the peace process, or violate human rights. Additionally, the resolution demanded that the Government of Sudan cease conducting offensive military flights in and over the Darfur region.

V - Recommendations

The African Commission recommends that the Government of Sudan should:

43. Establish a National Commission of Enquiry / Truth and Reconciliation Commission as part of the reconciliation and healing process, and as part of the process of addressing the multiple conflicts currently going on in the country.

44. Give an update on how it is implementing the UN Resolution 1591.

45. Open up constructive dialogue, with the full involvement of the AU, with all factions of the various conflicts in Sudan in a bid to find a comprehensive solution to the problems in the country.

46. Approve a visit by the African Commission to discuss with the Sudanese Authorities issues relating to the general promotion and protection of human rights.

47. Continue cooperation with the combined AU and UN “hybrid” force (UNAMID) in order to enhance the security of the civilian population for the eventual return of IDPs to their communities and for the protection of humanitarian agencies’ personnel and materials.

48. Ensure that refugees within its territory continue to receive its support, and in cooperation with UNHCR, where appropriate explore measures such as voluntary repatriation, integration or resettlement as durable solutions for long standing refugees’ problems.

49. Create a separate Ministry of Children’s Affairs to address the pressing issues children face in Sudan.

50. Ratify as a matter of urgency the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa.

51. Ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and take measures to eradicate discriminatory practices against women, especially by ensuring that the law which criminalizes adultery does not operate in such a manner that it discriminates against women.

52. Criminalise all forms of violence against women, especially the practice of FGM.

53. Ensure that Sudan criminalises torture.

54. Enact legislation banning the use of corporal punishment and all other inhuman and degrading treatment.

55. Put a moratorium on the death penalty.

56. Undertake measures to train members of the judiciary at all levels, state prosecutors, and members of the bar, police and prison officials on human rights law.

57. Repeal Article 33 of the National Security Act that seems to give immunity from prosecution for some members of the Sudanese Security.

58. Publicise and disseminate information about the African Charter, Robben Island Guidelines, and use it as one of the human rights instruments for its training for police and prison officials. The African Commission offers it services to hold training sessions in Sudan for police and prison officials on the use of the Guidelines and other international human rights instruments relating to the prevention and prohibition of torture and conditions of detention.

59. Enact legislation ensuring the complete independence of the Bar Association.

60. Relook at existing laws governing press freedoms with a view to ensuring that the relevant media structures and institutions are empowered to function freely and independently.

61. Inform the African Commission, in its next Periodic Report, of the steps it has taken to address the areas of concern, as well as how it has implemented the recommendations in this Concluding Observations.

Adopted at the 45th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human Peoples’ Rights held from 13 to 27 May 2009, Banjul, The Gambia.

Forty-Fifth Ordinary Session
13 - 27 May 2009, Banjul, The Gambia

Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties under the Terms of Article
62 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights 

Concluding Observations and Recommendations on the
Second Periodic Report of the Republic of Benin 



I - Introduction

1. The Republic of Benin (Benin) is a State Party to the African Charter on Human an Peoples’ Rights (the African Charter) having ratified same on 20 January 1986.

2. Benin submitted its Initial Periodic Report to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Commission) in 1992 and the Report was considered in October 1994 at the 16th Ordinary Session of the African Commission. The First Periodic Report was submitted in May 2000 and was considered in October 2000 at the 28th Ordinary Session.

3. The present Report which covers the period from 2000 to 2008 is the State Party’s Second Periodic Report and was submitted to the Secretariat of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Secretariat) on 28 August 2008. It was examined by the African Commission during its 45th Ordinary Session held from 13 to 27 May 2009.

4. The Report was introduced to the African Commission by Mr. Hounyeaze Patrice, Head of the Delegation of Republic of Benin, and presented by Zinkpe Marie-Gisele, Director of Human Rights Services of the Ministry of Justice, Benin. The Report highlights the developments that have taken place in the country in the area of human rights and the measures taken by the
country to implement the country’s obligations under the African Charter since its last Periodic Report.

5. The present Concluding Observations highlight the positive aspects identified in the Report, outline areas of concerns based on the content of the Report as well as the answers and information given during the presentation of the Report, and provide recommendations on steps to be taken by the Republic of Benin to enhance the enjoyment of human and peoples’ rights in the country. 

II – Positive Aspects

The African Commission:

6. Welcomes the presentation of Benin’s Second Periodic Report in accordance with Article 62 of the African Charter, and the fact that both the format and presentation of the Report are in conformity with the African Commission’s Guidelines on State Reporting.

7. Appreciates the involvement of relevant stakeholders, including government agencies, human rights Non- Governmental Organisations (NGOs), legislators and the public at large, in the preparation of the present Report. 

8. Appreciates the quality of the Report and the constructive dialogue it had with the delegation, which comprised of government officials directly involved in the implementation of the African Charter, which allowed for a fuller assessment of the State Party’s compliance with its obligations under the African Charter. The African Commission also welcomes the positive
reactions by the Delegation to the suggestions and recommendations made during the discussion.

9. Welcomes the additional information and answers to the questions provided by the Delegation of the Republic of Benin during the examination of the Report, and further welcomes the undertaking made by the Delegation to provide as soon as possible, answers to those questions and additional information which was not immediately available, as well as to include such information in its next periodic report to the African Commission.

10. Notes with appreciation, the fact that the Republic of Benin is one of the States Parties that is regularly submitting its Periodic Report in accordance with Article 62 of the African Charter.

11. Further appreciates the measures and efforts taken by the Government to introduce the right to education for all by 2015, in conformity with the Millennium Development Goals.

12. Recognises that since the examination of Benin’s 1st Periodic Report in 1994, several measures have been taken to enhance the enjoyment of human rights in the country. This includes amongst others, the adoption of legislations, policy measures and judicial and institutional interventions such as: the reform of the administration of justice policies, respect for individual freedoms and reform initiatives, the National Gender Policy and other legal reforms to prevent discrimination against women and children, the introduction of human rights in philosophy training programmes at the general and technical schooling levels and the increase in state subsidies granted to private media houses.

13. Also appreciates the development of a democratic system in Benin by the setting up of decentralised organs and the holding of the 2002 local government and municipal elections, the fourth presidential elections in April 2006, and the Legislative and 2004 local government elections. 

14. Welcomes the current efforts by the State Party to ban female genital mutilation and for making the practice a criminal offence; and further welcomes the efforts made by the Government to protect the social and economic rights, by making the same justiceable. 

15. Welcomes the efforts made by Benin to incorporate international human rights instruments as well as recommendations of treaty bodies into its domestic law, such as the Persons and Family Code in 2005 and the Code on the Child in 2007.

16. Further notes that Benin has strengthened its institutional framework by the creation of various institutions and structures aimed at ensuring the promotion and respect of human rights, such as the National Commission on the Right of the Child, the Presidential Mediator and the Minors Protection Units (Brigade de protection des mineurs).

17. Welcomes the efforts and commitments by the Government of Benin to combat poverty through the provision of micro-credit facilities. The Commission also welcomes the steps taken to achieve the Millennium Development Goals including efforts to guarantee the right to health and education; the immunisation programme; efforts to strengthen border controls to prevent the trafficking in children and the activities of the village committee to combat human trafficking and efforts taken to reduce illiteracy. 

18. Also welcomes the creation of the Ministry of Youth, Micro-Finance and Women and Youth Employment Affairs. 

19. Further welcomes the creation of a National Committee on the Death Penalty to, inter alia, make recommendations on the future of the death penalty in Benin and notes the moratorium on the death penalty. 

20. Appreciates the steps taken by Benin to improve the rights of children provided for in Article 26 of the Constitution, through the adoption of various Acts, which among other things reinforce the existing mechanism for the protection of women and children, establish a minimum age for marriage, impose an obligation on the Government of Benin to uphold the right of every child to free and basic education. In particular the African Commission welcomes the provision of the Act prohibiting the imposition of the death penalty on children.

21. Notes the ratification and domestication of all core labour instruments of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the establishment of Labour Offices in various districts of Benin for the effective implementation of these labour standards.

22. Further notes the development of the National Workplace Policy on HIV/AIDS, which provides rights-based guidelines to the Government, employers and employees for protecting the right and dignity of workers infected by HIV/AIDS.

23. Appreciates the efforts by the Beninese Government in supporting refugees in its territory.

24. Welcomes the invitation extended by the Delegation of Republic of Benin to the Chairperson of the Follow-up Committee on Robben Island Guidelines and the Special Rapporteur on Prisons and Conditions of Detention in Africa to visit prisons and gather information on the condition of detainees, and to assess the extent of the implementation of the Robben Island Guidelines. 

III - Areas of Concern

While recognising the efforts of the Government of Benin to promote and protect human rights and to create awareness on the principles and provisions of the African Charter, the African Commission remains concerned:

25. That government institutions and the public at large are not sufficiently aware of the African Charter and also the work of the African Commission.

26. That enough has not been done to harness through affirmative action, the potential of Beninese women willing and available to contribute to the social, economic and political development of the country.

27. About the lack of concrete legislation on gender based violence and where this exists about the lack of resolve to apply them. 

28. At the high rate of infant and maternal mortality, especially in the villages where women still predominantly give birth at home.

29. About the prison conditions in the country that still remain deplorable. Prisons still suffer from overcrowding and there is lack of trained staff and lack of adequate food. The African Commission is also concerned that Hawkers are allowed to sell food in prison wards, a situation that promotes racketeering and creates fear and complete lack of security in the prisons.

30. About the practice by which some prisoners are selected to serve as guards to their fellow prisoners, a practice that could cause serious human rights abuses and make other prisoners vulnerable to all kinds of danger. 

31. About the welfare of women and children who are particularly vulnerable and live in precarious conditions in prisons.

32. That the Benin Human Rights Commission is not working effectively. 

33. By reports of police/gendarme brutality.

34. About the several factors that hamper the promotion and protection of human rights, such as the lack of national plan of action for the promotion of human rights, the delay in the disbursement of funds allocated by the State to Departments responsible for human rights as highlighted in Benin’s First Periodic Report.

35. About the apparent inadequacies of Benin’s criminal justice system and in particular the high number of persons in detention awaiting trial and the extensive and sometimes indefinite period for which they are held without trial.

36. That Benin has not made the declaration under Article 34(6) of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Establishment of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Protocol Establishing the African Court), allowing individuals and NGOs with Observer Status before the African Commission, to institute cases before the African Court. 

37. About the welfare and status of older women in Benin who are regarded as witches and the lack of legal protection to this category of people.

38. About the lack of adequate human rights training to judicial officers and auxiliaries engaged in court administration.

V - Recommendations

The African Commission recommends that the Government of Benin should:

39. Make efforts to ensure that the provisions of the African Charter as well as the work of the African Commission are well publicised in the Country. In this regard, it encourages the State Party to take steps to translate and make available the African Charter in as many local languages as possible.

40. Take positive steps to create an effective mechanism to guarantee female participation in all levels of government, and also enact legislation to prohibit discriminatory practices against women.

41. Take the necessary steps to establish mechanisms for generating accurate statistical data on gender related issues, such as the level of female participation in all spheres and tiers of government and the number of judgements handed down by the courts regarding FGM.

42. Train judges, magistrates and other officers of the court on human rights protection.

43. Finalise steps to abolish the death penalty.

44. Ensure the enactment into law of the various draft Bills before its National Assembly touching on human rights, including: the Draft Penal Code and the Draft bill on press freedom.

45. Amend its laws on criminal defamation in line with Principle XII of the African Commission’s Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa.

46. Ensure that private broadcasting laws are reviewed to protect journalists from arbitrary arrest and detention.

47. Take appropriate measures to protect older women in the society in particular and older persons in general.

48. Take steps to enact legislation protecting the rights of Persons Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), prohibiting discrimination against them, and ensuring their equality in all spheres of life. The African Commission also recommends that steps should be taken to develop a programme that works in preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS.

49. Take urgent measures so that prisoners are no longer involved with the up keeping of prison discipline.

50. Ensure that:

the trafficking of children is punished; allegations of torture and ill-treatment are investigated and perpetrators of such acts be brought to justice. the judicial authority is provided with all logistical support in order to enable it better combat impunity and injustice; no statement obtained under torture or duress be allowed in proceedings and that orders from a superior are not considered as justification of torture; firmness is displayed to prevent abusive detention; prison conditions are consistent with international standards.

51. Inform the African Commission, in its next Periodic Report, of the steps it has taken to address the areas of concern, as well as how it has implemented the recommendations in this Concluding Observations. 

Adopted at the 45th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human Peoples’ Rights held from 13 to 27 May 2009, Banjul, The Gambia.

Concluding Observations of the African Commission on the 3rd Periodic Report of the Republic of Uganda

Presented at the 45th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and
Peoples’ Rights held in Banjul, the Gambia from 13 to 27 May 2009



I - Introduction

1. The Republic of Uganda ratified the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on 27 March 1986.In conformity to Article 62 of the Charter, she submitted her 3rd Periodic Report, covering the period 2006-2008. The first Report was considered during the 27th Ordinary Session of the African Commission, held from 27th April – 11th May 2000, in Algeria. The second
Report was considered during the 40th Ordinary Session of the African Commission held from the 15-29 November 2006 in Banjul, The Gambia. This Report was received at the  Secretariat of the African Commission in October 2008; and was considered during the 45th Ordinary Session of the African Commission, held from 13-27 May 2009 in Banjul, The Gambia. The present Concluding Observations follow the consideration of the Report by the African Commission.

2. The delegation of the Republic of Uganda that presented the Report to the African Commission was led by Hon. Federick Ruhindi, Attorney General and Minister of State for Justice & Constitutional Affairs; and included:
 

Major Charles Wacha Angulo - Director of Human Rights, Uganda Peoples Defence Force Ms. Rosette Nyirinkindi Katungye - Head of AU Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mr. Phillip Odoki - Law Reform Commission Mr. Nathan Twino - Amnesty Commission Ms Patience Kabiije - State Attorney; and Mr. Pascal Eramu - Internal Affairs Ministry.

3. The African Commission commends the Republic of Uganda for submitting its Report and being up to date with its reporting obligations.

4. The African Commission highly appreciates the efforts made by the government of Uganda to guarantee the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms enshrined under the African Charter.

5. These Concluding Observations give an account of the positive factors identified in the Report as well as the factors restricting the effective enjoyment of human and peoples’ rights guaranteed in the African Charter. They also underline areas of concern where, in the African Commission’s view, action needs to be taken.

6. In these Concluding Observations, the African Commission also makes recommendations to the State on measures to be taken to enhance the enjoyment of human and peoples’ rights in general and the rights guaranteed in the African Charter in particular.

II - The Positive Factors

The African Commission hereby: 

7. Notes that the Report is in compliance with the African Commissions Reporting Guidelines for State Reporting.

8. Notes that Uganda’s Constitution has a section entitled the Charter on Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms which guarantees the protection of human rights of Ugandans. The Constitution also provides for various constitutional bodies to promote and protect fundamental rights and freedoms in Uganda.

9. Appreciates that Uganda has complied with some of the recommendations adopted by the African Commission after the presentation of the Second Periodic Report at the 40th Ordinary Session held from 15-29 November 2006 in Banjul, The Gambia.

10. Notes with appreciation that Uganda has enacted the following legislations with a view to enhancing the protection of human rights in the country:

The Copy Right and Neighbouring Rights Act 2006 The Equal Opportunities Commission Act 2007 The Penal Code (Amendment)Act 2007 The Magistrates Courts (Amendment) Act 2007 The Judicature (Amendment) Act 2007 The Trial on Indictment(Amendment) Act 2008 The Law Revision (Fines and other Financial Amounts in Criminal Matters) Act 2008. The Trafficking in Persons Act 2009


11. Notes in particular that the Republic of Uganda has taken some institutional measures, giving effect to promoting and protecting human rights in the country by establishing the:

Equal Opportunities Commission, Amnesty Commission and Media Council,

12. Commends Uganda for establishing:

The Department of Culture and Family Affairs in the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Affairs to address issues within the family; and The Human Rights Department in the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) mandated to sensitize the rank and file of the armed forces on human rights issues.

13. Further commends Uganda for establishing the following special Courts to facilitate access to justice:

Local Council Courts Anti- Corruption Court Qadhis Courts Human Rights Tribunal Industrial Tribunal Family and Children’s Court Tax Court

14. Notes that Uganda has set up a Multi-Stakeholders Consultation for the creation of the War Crimes Court.

15. Recognizes the efforts being made by Uganda to reduce gender inequality by revising the 2007 Gender Policy to achieve among others:

Increased knowledge and understanding of human rights among women and men so that they can identify violations, demand, access, seek redress and enjoy their rights; Strengthened women’s presence and capacities in decision making for their meaningful participation in administrative and political processes; and Elimination of gender inequalities and ensure inclusion of gender analysis in macro-economic policy formulation, implementation monitoring and evaluation.

16. Commends Uganda for establishing HIV/AIDS Health Centres at every subdistrict to ensure easy access to healthcare services and for putting in place an HIV/AIDS National Policy.

17. Commends Uganda for taking steps to address issues confronting the Karamoja region by establishing the Ministry of State for Karamoja Affairs and for launching the Karamoja Integrated Disarmament Development Program (KIDDP) in 2008, to develop and implement a comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable disarmament programme that enhances peace building and development in Karamoja.

18. Commends Uganda for being one of the few countries to have adopted an Access to Information Legislation.

19. Finally commends Uganda for the adoption of the Peace Recovery and Development Plan of Northern Uganda 2007-2010 for the stabilization, rehabilitation and consolidation of peace in the Northern and Eastern parts of the country.

III - Factors restricting the enjoyment of the rights enshrined in the African Charter:

The African Commission notes that the factors restricting the enjoyment of the rights enshrined in the African Charter are:

20. The continued internal armed conflict in the Northern part of Uganda by rebel groups, associated with attacks on the civilian population by raping, mutilating, slaughtering, abducting civilians, raiding villages, recruitment of child soldiers, looting stores and homes, and burning houses and schools. These and other human rights violations affect in particular  marginalized groups, thereby jeopardizes the implementation of development projects and affect the enjoyment of rights enshrined in the Charter. 

21. The apparent lack of political will to take measures to realize the rights of indigenous populations especially the BATWA people as guaranteed under the Charter.

22. The prevalence of harmful cultural practices like the ritual sacrifice of children and Female Genital Mutilation particularly in the Aswan region of Uganda continue to affect the enjoyment of human rights; in particular the rights of children.

23. The failure to adopt legislative measures to criminalize torture and violence against children.

24. The failure to ensure the full enjoyment of the right to freedom of expression by introducing legislative measures that restrict the right to freedom of expression.

25. The inadequacy and high cost of legal services in Uganda means ordinary Ugandans cannot afford legal services. 

IV – Areas of concern 

The African Commission is concerned:

26. About the lack of Non Governmental Organizations involvement in the drafting of the Report.

27. That the following recommendations adopted after the presentation of the Second Periodic Report at the 40th Session were not complied with:

To comply with Article 7 of the African Charter and in particular, the 2001 Principles and Guidelines on Fair Trial and Legal Assistance in Africa, as they relate to the prohibition of trials of civilians by military tribunals. Consider amending the recently enacted NGO Registration (Amendment) Act with a view to incorporating the concerns raised by the NGO community. Collaborate with civil society, international and regional organizations, to sensitize people and address Uganda’s difficulties, in particular problems related to insecurity, unemployment and development. Enhance implementation of the national policy on the Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs) in relation to the IDPs return and resettlement programmes, and to ensure the rehabilitation of social and economic infrastructure to enable the return and resettlement of IDPS in Uganda.

28. That the Report does not adequately provide comprehensive statistical information and disaggregated data in relation to the various assertions made on the promotion and protection of human and peoples’ rights in Uganda.

29. That Uganda is yet to ratify:

The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, The Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights and; The African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.

30. Over the increased threats and harassment faced by human rights defenders and the restrictive legislation (Non Governmental Organization (Amendment) Registration Act 2006)  adopted by the Republic of Uganda. This increases administrative constraints and criminal sanctions against Human Rights Defenders; thereby limiting their right to freedom of expression.

31. That only 4% of births in Uganda were registered in 2008.

32. That only 19% of prisoners have access to clean water and only 62% of prisoners are provided with meals on a daily basis.

33. About existing legislation on Criminal Defamation in the Penal Code of Uganda.

34. About the lack of legislative measures to criminalize torture and violence against children.

35. By the lack of information on Refugees and Asylum Seekers, Internally Displaced Persons and Migrants in the Report.

36. About the prevalence of FGM, the ritual sacrifices of children, domestic violence and the continued occurrence of early marriages in Uganda.

37. By the trial of civilians by Military Courts. 

38. About the lack of provision of adequate legal aid in Uganda.

39. By the exploitation, the discrimination and the marginalization of indigenous populations, in particular the BATWA people of Uganda, who are deprived of their ancestral lands and live without any land titles.

40. That the moratorium on the death penalty is not observed neither is there a law abolishing the death penalty.

V- Recommendations 

The African Commission recommends to the Government of Uganda to:

Ratify the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, the Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance. Ensure that legal aid is available to every citizen. Establish adequate legislation on freedom of expression to fulfill its obligations under the Charter. Ensure that all births and deaths are registered in Uganda by making such registration accessible and affordable to all citizens. Implement the Robben Island Guidelines to fulfill its national and international obligations to strengthen the prohibition and prevention of torture and in particular, criminalize torture. Introduce legal measures that prohibit the trial of civilians by Military Courts. Improve the conditions of prisons and places of detention with a view to bringing them in line with the Charter and international standards. Observe the moratorium on the death penalty and take measures to abolish the death penalty. Adopt measures to ensure the effective protection of the rights of indigenous populations especially the BATWA people as guaranteed under the Charter by establishing laws that protect land rights and natural resources of indigenous populations. Put an end to the increased threats and harassment faced by Human Rights Defenders as well as the constraints and criminal sanctions against them. Increase its efforts in working closely with NGOs, in the reporting process. Urgently introduce laws to criminalize violence against children, early marriages and measures that will help towards the total eradication of all the harmful cultural practices in Uganda, in particular, the ritual sacrifice of children and Female Genital Mutilation. Ensure that the Access to Information legislation is operationalized. Take measures to repeal the Criminal Defamation legislation contained in the Penal Code of Uganda. Provide information on the situation of Refugees, Asylum Seekers, Internally Displaced Persons and Migrants in Uganda. Forward to the Secretariat of the African Commission, the written responses to the questions posed by Members of the Commission during the presentation of the report. Indicate to the Commission in its next Periodic Report, what measures Uganda has taken to give effect to these recommendations.


Banjul, May 2009.

Forty-Seventh Ordinary Session
12 – 26 May 2010, Banjul, The Gambia

Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties under Article 62 
of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights

Concluding Observations and Recommendations on the Initial, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th 
Periodic Report of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia


I – Introduction

1. The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) is a State Party to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Charter) having ratified the same on 15 June 1998.

2. The present Report which combines the Initial, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Periodic Reports, covers the period from 1998 to 2007, and was submitted to the Secretariat of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Secretariat) on 15 November 2008.

3. The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Commission) examined the Report during its 46th Ordinary Session held from 11 to 25 November 2009 in Banjul, The Gambia.

4. His Excellency, Mr. Hassen Abdulkadir, Ambassador of the FDRE to the Republic of Senegal, and Head of Delegation of the FDRE to the 46th Ordinary Session of the African Commission introduced the Report and it was presented by H.E. Ambassador Fisseha Yimer, Special Advisor to the Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

5. Other members of the delegation included:
 

Mr Girma Kassye, Director of International Law and Consular Affairs Directorate General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and Ms Meklit Timothewos, Legal Expert, International Law and Consular Affairs Directorate General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


6. The Report highlights human rights developments that have taken place in the country and the implementation of the country’s obligations under the African Charter since the ratification of the later in 1998.

7. The present Concluding Observations highlights the positive aspects identified in the Report and also outlines areas of concerns based on the content of the Report and information given during the presentation of the Report and from additional answers forwarded. Recommendations are made based on the report, the dialogue that ensued from examination and additional answers provided.

II – Positive Aspects

The African Commission:

8. Welcomes the presentation of the Combined Initial Periodic Reports of the FDRE in accordance with Article 62 of the African Charter and further welcomes the fact that, the format and presentation of the Report are in conformity with the African Commission’s Guidelines on State Reporting.

9. Appreciates and welcomes answers to those questions posed during examination and additional information provided that were not immediately available during the presentation of the Report. The African Commission also appreciates the effort put in the preparation of the additional answers taking cognisance of the difficulty, bureaucracy and challenges involved in collecting and compiling such answers.

10. Welcomes the National Conferences convened by the FDRE for input by relevant sectors on the compilation and preparation of the Report, which included seventeen (17) relevant stakeholders, including government agencies, human rights Non- Governmental Organisations (NGOs), legislators, academic institutions and the public at large.

11. Welcomes the adoption of the 1994 Constitution, which includes provisions on fundamental human rights and freedoms, enshrining principles of equality and non discrimination on grounds of race, nationality, social origin, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, birth or other status.

12. Welcomes the introduction of civic education with human rights component for all schools as well as human rights training for the police and other law enforcement officials and for providing human rights courses in the curriculum of the law schools of the FDRE.

13. Notes the efforts made by the FDRE towards the development of a democratic system in furtherance of which it held its third Parliamentary Elections in 2005.

14. Welcomes the effort made by the FDRE to bring together Opposition and the Ruling Parties for discussions on the forth-coming general elections and the formation of an election code of conduct to avoid the incidence that resulted following the 2005 general elections. The African Commission further appreciates the adoption of an election code of conduct that will guide future elections of the State Party.

15. Further welcomes the establishment of a Justice and Legal Research Institute responsible for reviewing existing national legislation in line with standards set by the African Charter and other international human rights instruments.

16. Also welcomes the establishment of independent Human Rights Commission and Office of Ombudsman.

17. Notes that the FDRE has observed a moratorium on Death Penalty considering that for the last 15 years there were only two executions.

18. Welcomes the ratification of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and steps taken to ensure its implementation by for instance setting a minimum age for marriage of 18 years for both male and female, and for imposing an obligation on the Government of the FDRE to uphold the right of every child to basic education.

19. Further welcomes the enactment of the proclamation prohibiting the imposition of death penalty against a child.

20. Notes the setting up of Juvenile Justice Project Office (JIPO) by the FDRE in 1999 and further welcomes the activities undertaken by JIPO since its establishment including reviewing of existing laws pertaining to child rights and assessing the structural framework of the Judiciary and the police with regard to the protection of children.

21. Notes the ratification and domestication of all core labour standards of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the establishment of Labour Offices in various regions of the FDRE for effective implementation of these standards. The African Commission further notes the development of the National Work Place Policy on HIV/AIDS, which protects the right and dignity of workers, infected by HIV/AIDS and the provision of free anti-retroviral programme that started in 2005.

22. Welcomes Proclamation 515/1999 that established the Federal Civil Service Agency, through which an aggrieved employee can file his or her case to the Grievance Hearing Committee, which is also established in each civil service institution, to hear complaints from aggrieved civil servants.

23. Notes with appreciation the revised criminal code enacted in 2005, which criminalises torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment by public servants of persons under their custody.

24. Further welcomes the setting up of Justice Bureau of the State or Regional Governments that have been providing considerable assistance to victims of torture by representing the complainants and bringing the perpetrators to justice.

25. Welcomes the regulation that separates male from female prisoners and for making provisions for infants, below 18 months, who need close maternal care, to stay with their mothers serving a prison term and for providing additional food to such mothers and their infant children.

26. Appreciates the FDRE’s effort to criminalise child labour.

27. Welcomes the effort of the FDRE for protecting the security of tenure of Judges in its Constitution by making their appointment the responsibility of the three branches of Government with the Judicial Administrative Council providing the list of nominees that is sent to the Prime Minister before being sent to parliament for final appointment.

28. Welcomes the ICT tools used in the Courts of FDRE to facilitate access to justice in the form of e-filing, video links, interactive voice response, thereby making access to justice easier and affordable to those litigants who cannot come to administrative centres for economic or other reasons.

29. Further welcomes the Interactive Voice Response System (IVR) in the Courts of FDRE which provides information through an automated system thereby enabling litigants to get access to basic information regarding their cases seven days a week and 24 hours a day.

30. Takes note of Article 29 of the Constitution of FDRE and Article 42(1) of Proclamation No. 590/2008 that provide the right to freedom of expression for every individual and also guarantees that no periodical or book shall be impounded unless they endanger the national security of the Country.

31. Welcomes the women’s development project, which provides credit and technical assistance to women.

32. Welcomes the ratification of the Protocol on the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Protocol Establishing the African Court).

33. Welcomes the efforts made by the FDRE to demystify harmful traditional practices by organising advocacy workshops conducted at regional and national levels for policy makers and other influential target groups, such as religious and community leaders, youth and women groups.

34. Welcomes the new Family Code of the FDRE that guarantees equality of spouses during the conclusion, duration and dissolution of marriage and for setting a minimum age of 18 years for marriage for both male and female.

35. Welcomes the ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

36. Welcomes the enactment of the National Refugee Legislation in July 2004, which is based on the principles of the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its Protocol of 1967 as well as the 1969 OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa.

37. Welcomes FDRE’s social welfare policy that takes into consideration the welfare of older persons and the Government sponsored homes that provide institutional care for destitute older persons with significant number of others being run by various NGOs and philanthropic individuals.

38. Notes the measures put in place by the FDRE to reduce poverty and food shortage by way of introducing measures to reduce variations in crop production and food availability through more irrigation and water control, diversification of crops and better integration of markets, transport, and information links.

III - Factors Restricting the Enjoyment of Rights Guaranteed in the African Charter

59. The African Commission acknowledges that the State Party has had to face, during the past few years, economic, social and political challenges, due, inter alia, to years of civil war and the transition to democracy.

60. The African Commission notes the existence of interregional and urban/rural disparities, in particular with regard to the availability of resources and infrastructure, which may lead to discrimination in the enjoyment of the rights provided for in the African Charter.

61. The African Commission furthermore notes that certain traditional practices and customs, prevailing particularly in rural areas, hamper the effective implementation of the provisions of the African Charter, especially with regard to the girl child.

62. The African Commission notes the continuing incidence of natural disasters, including drought and floods, and further notes the negative impact upon respect for children's rights of the period of armed conflict with Eritrea.

IV – Areas of Concern

While recognising the efforts of the FDRE to promote and protect human rights and to create awareness on the principles and provisions of the African Charter, the African Commission remains concerned:

37. That the public at large is not sufficiently aware of the African Charter and the work of the African Commission.

38. That not enough has been done to harness through affirmative action, the potential of Ethiopian women willing and available to contribute to the social, economic and political development of the Country.

39. About the substantial disparity of employment ratio between male and female employees, which stands at 84.7% for male employees as against 69% for female employees.

40. About the lack of concrete legislation at the national level on gender based violence, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), and discrimination against women.

41. At the high incidence of infant and maternal mortality in the country.

42. That out of the 18 broadcasters (Television and Radio) only 5 are privately owned and this may not create an enabling environment for the enjoyment of freedom of expression and access to information.

43. About the silence of FDRE on reasons why judges Wolde-Micheal-Meshesha and Firehiwot Samuel fled and sought political asylum in Europe before the completion of their assignment.

44. That there are still incidences when children from rural areas have been imported to towns and compelled to work in an exploitative and unsafe conditions with or without the prior permission of their parents as evident in the additional answers forwarded by FDRE to the African Commission.

45. That the Charities and Societies Proclamation No. 621/2009 has the potential to violate the rights of freedom of expression as specified by the African Charter, especially the provision that requires NGOs not to raise more than ten percent of their funding out side of Ethiopia.

46. That the composition, appointment and termination of office of the Commissioners of the national electoral body and the Independent National Electoral Commission, do not sufficiently guarantee its independence.

47. About Proclamation No. 590/2008 in relation to freedom of mass media and access to information that compels journalist to disclose their sources of information.

48. That on many occasions suspects are held in detention for a long time before being brought to court for trial.

49. That the FDRE is yet to make the declaration under Article 34(6) of the Protocol Establishing the African Court, that allows individuals and NGOs with observer status before the African Commission, to institute cases before the Court.

50. About the two leading causes of death, Malaria and Tuberculosis, and the failure of the FDRE to inform the African Commission about measures it has put in place to prevent or reduce deaths resulting from these diseases.

51. That Proclamation No. 568/2008 on the employment of persons with disabilities has not yet been implemented thereby leaving these segments of the population unprotected.

52. About child trafficking and sexual exploitation of children, which FDRE acknowledges, is still prevalent and widespread.

53. That law enforcement officials have not been sensitised about the Robben Island Guidelines.

54. That FDRE has not ratified the Optional Protocol on the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT).

55. That neither the report nor the additional answers forwarded provide adequate information about prison conditions in the FDRE.

56. About the silence of the Report on whether there are political prisoners in FDRE.

57. About the silence of the Report and the lack of adequate response from the Delegation on the CSO law, Electoral laws, and Proclamation 652/09 on terrorism and whether the Government will reopen dialogue with the civil society with a view to amend or review problematic laws in the country.

58. About the failure of FDRE to take steps to bring to justice those responsible for the death of protesters in the 2005 post-election violence.

V - Recommendations

The African Commission recommends that the FDRE should:

59. Make greater effort to ensure that the provisions of the African Charter as well as the work of the African Commission are well publicised in the whole country. In this regard, it encourages the State Party to take steps to translate and make available the African Charter in as many local languages as possible.

60. Take steps to create an effective affirmative action to guarantee female participation in all spheres of government, and also enact at the Federal level, legislation prohibiting FGM, violence and discriminatory practices against women.

61. Take the necessary steps to establish mechanisms for generating accurate statistical data on gender related issues, such as the level of female participation in all spheres and tiers of government and on the prevalence of FGM in each State of the Federation.

62. Introduce appropriate policies to address the high incidence of infant and maternal mortality, especially in the Northern part of the Country.

63. Ensure that its electoral laws conform to the relevant principles in the Declaration of Principles of Freedom of Expression in its entirety and also that it ratifies the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Good Governance.

64. Step up efforts to protect women migrant workers, prevent activities of illegal employment agencies and ensure that women are provided with adequate information on safe migration before departure, and conclude bilateral agreements with receiving countries.

65. Take steps to ease the difficulties of access to justice occasioned by the high cost of litigation and the complex court processes, through measures such as the provision of legal aid, establishment of mobile courts, introduction of para-legal officers in the judicial system and the use and availability of interpreters and local languages in Courts.

66. Increase the number of circuit courts in all districts to save litigants from walking for days before accessing a court.

67. Ratify the Protocol Establishing the African Court and make the declaration under Article 34 (6) of the same Protocol, which allows individuals and NGOs to have standing and bring cases before the Court.

68. Take steps to enact legislation protecting the rights of Persons Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), which prohibits discrimination against them. The African Commission recommends that steps be taken to develop a programme preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS through which the necessary testing and provision of medicines to pregnant women is made available in all public health care facilities.

69. Take all measures to guarantee the protection of minor refugees in line with the provision of the African Charter and international refugee laws on treatment of unaccompanied and separated children outside their country of origin.

70. Strengthen the National Human Rights Commission and provide it with adequate human and financial resources in order to increase effectiveness in mainstreaming gender perspective in all policies and in promoting the human rights of women.

71. Take the necessary steps to address through legislative measures concerns regarding resources allocation for the prevention of practices such as harmful traditional practices, birth registration, child labour, refugee children and juvenile justice.

72. Review the Charities and Civil Societies Proclamation (CSO) that proscribe human rights organisations from getting more than ten percent of their funding from abroad.

73. Guarantee the security of tenure of the members and the independence of National Electoral Body and the National Electoral Commission.

74. Adopt mechanisms to bridge the disparity of employment ratio between male and female employees.

75. Put in place concrete legislative measures on gender-based violence at the national level to address the problem of FGM and discrimination against women.

76. Create enabling environment to journalists by increasing the number of private radio stations and periodicals for easy access to information.

77. Supply information on reasons that led to the fleeing of the two judges, Wolde-Micheal-Meshesha and Firehiwot Samuel before the completion of their assignment.

78. Review Proclamation 590/2008 to protect journalists from being forced to disclose the sources of their information.

79. Put in place mechanisms to bring suspects before a court of law in a timely manner.

80. Put in place measures, and legislations, that will protect persons living with HIV/AIDS from discrimination in the society as well as to address the problem of mother- to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS.

81. Put in place mechanisms to address the plight of persons with disabilities in the country.

82. Sensitize law enforcement officers about the Robben Island Guidelines.

83. Ratify the OPCAT.

84. Provide information on conditions of prisons and places of detention in Ethiopia, and ensure that prisoners are held in humane conditions.

85. Provide information regarding political prisoners, if any.

86. Bring to justice those responsible for the dearth of protesters during the 2005 post-election violence.

87. Increase the existing measures aimed at improving food shortage, such as irrigation, water control and diversification of crops in order to effectively avoid the heavy dependence on international food aid.

88. Take measures to eradicate or reduce the two leading causes of death, which are Malaria and Tuberculosis.

89. Inform the African Commission, in its next Periodic Report, of the steps it has taken to address the areas of concern, as well as how it has implemented the recommendations in this Concluding Observations.


Adopted at the 47th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights held from 12 to 26 May 2010, Banjul, The Gambia.

Forty-Seventh Ordinary Session
12 – 26 May 2010, in Banjul, The Gambia

Consideration of Reports submitted by States Parties under the Terms of Article 62 
of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights

Concluding Observations and Recommendations on the Initial Periodic Report of the Republic of Botswana


I - Introduction

1. The Republic of Botswana (Botswana) is a State Party to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Charter) having ratified it on 17 July 1986.

2. The present Concluding Observations follow the presentation and examination of the Initial Periodic Reports of Botswana at the 46th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Commission). The Report covers human rights developments in the country since independence (1966).

3. The Report was presented to the African Commission by the Minister for Defence, Justice and Security, Honourable Dikgakgamatso Seretse. It highlights the developments that have taken place in the areas of human and peoples’ rights and measures put in place with a view to implement the country’s obligations under the African Charter.

4. The present Concluding Observations give an account of the positive aspects, and areas of concern identified in the Report. The comments, remarks and observations during the examination of the Report, enhanced the recommendations formulated after the dialogue.

II - Positive Aspects

The African Commission:

5. Welcomes the presentation of the Initial Periodic Report of Botswana in accordance with Article 62 of the African Charter and the fact that both the format and presentation of the Report are in conformity with the African Commission’s Guidelines for the Preparation of Periodic Reports.

6. Appreciates the quality and candidness of the Report and the constructive dialogue the African Commission had with the Delegation of Botswana. It further welcomes the positive reactions to the suggestions and recommendations made during the discussion.

7. Welcomes the additional information and answers to the questions provided by the delegation of Botswana during the examination of the Report, and further welcomes the undertaking made by the delegation to provide as soon as possible to the African Commission, answers to questions and additional information which were not immediately available, as well as to include such information in its next Periodic Report to the African Commission.

8. Commends Botswana for the successive and consistent high economic growth rate it has achieved through the years and for becoming one of the few middle income countries in Africa.

9. Welcomes the establishment of the Office of the Ombudsman and also appreciates the work done by it in fighting maladministration and injustice in the public sector.

10. Commends Botswana for having a dynamic and independent judiciary which is playing an important role in the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

11. Notes that since its independence in 1966 Botswana had conducted successive elections which have been deemed to be free and fair, making the country a model for a functioning multiparty democracy, whose foundations are based on the promotion and protection of human rights.

12. Particularly congratulates Botswana for conducting peaceful elections in October 2009, which were declared free and fair by national and international observers.

13. Commends Botswana for ratifying major international and regional human rights instruments.

14. Welcomes the establishment of an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Treaties, Conventions and Protocols in 2002 to ensure the existence of laws and effective mechanisms for the enforcement and assertion of human rights.

15. Commends Botswana for making education free up to the tertiary level and for having a special scheme that ensures that children in need attend school.

16. Commends Botswana for its social security programs for older persons and World War II veterans.

17. Commends Botswana for amending and enacting the following legislations which contribute to the economic, social and political empowerment of women:
 

The amendment of the Deeds Registry Act of 1996 which among others enable women to execute deeds and other required documents and to be registered in the deeds registry without their husbands’ consent and allow for immovable property to be transferred or ceded to a woman married in a community of property and allow the woman to have her own separate estate. The amendment of the Abolition of Marital Power Act in 2004 which provides for equality between men and women in marriage in community of property. The amendment of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act to provide for the mandatory hearing of rape and related offences in closed proceedings. The amendment of Sections 141 and 142 of the Penal Code which brought about gender neutrality in relation to rape by moving it away from being phallus-specific. The amendment of Public Service Act to recognize sexual harassment as misconduct. The enactment of the Domestic Violence Act in 2007 which provides for the protection of victims of domestic violence and for matters related therewith. The amendment of the Citizenship Act in 1995 following court ruling in the Unity Dow case.


18. Further commends Botswana for acceding to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and for ratifying its Optional Protocol.

19. Notes the extensive consultations made with the people and various stakeholders that eventually led to the enactment of the Bogosi Act to Amend Sections 77, 78 and 79 of the Constitution to accommodate all tribes.

20. Appreciates the social safety net programs put in place like the Destitute Program, the Orphan Care Program, the Community Home Based Care Program and Remote Area Development Program for vulnerable members of the society.

21. Commends the efforts made by Botswana to contain the spread of HIV/AIDS by making Anti-Retroviral Treatment and Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission Programs widely available for people living with HIV/AIDS and through HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns.

22. Notes and appreciates the National Strategy for Poverty Reduction programme that tries to foster sustainable livelihoods, expand employment opportunities and improve access to social investment.

23. Commends Botswana for the progress made in ensuring the availability, accessibility and affordability of health care programs and facilities to the population.

24. Notes the human rights program introduced by the Botswana Police College.

III - Factors Restricting the Enjoyment of the Rights Guaranteed in the African Charter

25. The Report acknowledges that resource constraints have largely been responsible for Botswana not being able to meet all of its human rights obligations. It also indicates that the high rate of HIV infection has obliged the Government to shift resources to fight the AIDS pandemic.

26. The report further recognizes the deep rooted beliefs in unfriendly practices like corporal punishment and the death penalty which go against the good precepts of recognition and protection of human rights.

27. The report also reveals that the official definition of settlements for purposes of planned development in many instances do not match the population and geographical distribution of human settlement.

IV - Areas of Concern

While recognising the efforts of Botswana to promote and protect human rights and to create awareness on the principles and provisions of the African Charter, the African Commission remains concerned that:

28. Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) working in the field of human rights like the Botswana Centre for Human Rights (Ditshwanelo) did not have an input into the preparation of the Report.

29. The Report does not address environmental issues and concerns.

30. Nothing has been mentioned in the Report about the measures taken by the State as to how it is fulfilling its obligations laid out in Articles 27 to 29 of the African Charter.

31. Corporal punishment is still allowed in schools and prisons as one form of punishment. The African Commission regards such forms of punishment as cruel, inhuman and degrading.
32. There is no organ that is mandated to look into human rights violations that are perpetrated by non-state actors.

33. The Constitution does not give recognition to economic, social, cultural and environmental rights.

34. Despite all the efforts that Botswana has made to avail its citizens of economic, social and cultural rights Botswana has not yet ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).

35. The reservations made by Botswana on the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) and the definition of torture provided under the Constitution undermine the protection and guarantees that torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment will not be carried out by law enforcement officials. The African Commission is further concerned with the fact that there is no clear provision that criminalizes torture.

36. Botswana still retains the death penalty and does not have plans to abolish it soon. It is also one of the few African Countries that carries out the death penalty regularly.

37. The President has a very vast and unchecked power in expelling non-nationals out of the country and in branding an individual as dangerous to peace and order.

38. The participation of women in parliament and in other organs of the Government is very nominal.

39. Female prisoners do not have their own separate prison.

40. Convicted prisoners are only allowed visits by friends and relatives for twenty minutes each month, which in the opinion of the African Commission is insufficient.

41. Free legal assistance by the State is restricted only to persons charged with capital offence.

42. The Government is not giving the necessary attention to the rights and concerns of the Basawara people who were evicted from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.

43. The language requirement for the election of the National Assembly discriminates against the poor/illiterate and minority groups who do not speak English.

44. There is no provision for free legal aid.

45. There is undue delay in the disposal of cases, especially pre-trial detention, leading to a backlog of cases and ultimately overcrowding in prisons and detention centres.

46. There is no legislation that makes basic education compulsory.

47. The fact that minors are required to be accompanied by their parents for HIV testing may discourage voluntary diagnosis of HIV/AIDS and may be contributing to the spreading of this pandemic.

V - Recommendations

The African Commission recommends that the Government of Botswana should:

48. Ensure that it involves all relevant NGOs in the preparation of its next Periodic Report, including the Botswana Centre for Human Rights (Ditshwanelo);

49. Ensure that the next Periodic Report include environmental issues, and should enumerate how the Government is fulfilling its obligations under Articles 27 – 29 of the African Charter.
50. Take urgent and concrete measures to abolish laws that allow corporal punishment in schools and prisons
.
51. Take steps towards establishing a National Human Rights Commission or elevate the Office of the Ombudsman to look into cases of violations of human rights by non-state actors.
52. Expedite the implementation of the Judicial Case Management System to address the problems of backlog of cases;

53. Take the necessary steps to amend the Constitution to incorporate economic, social, cultural and environmental rights.

54. Ratify the ICESCR.

55. Undertake to make a declaration accepting the competence of the African Court under Article 34(6) of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Establishment of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

56. Consider withdrawing the reservations made by it on CAT and amend the provisions of the Constitution on torture in accordance with internationally and regionally recognized norms and standards. The Government should also legislate laws that criminalize torture.

57. Take the necessary steps to institute a moratorium on the death penalty, and to this effect, the African Commission recommends that the Government works closely with the former’s Working Group on the Death Penalty;

58. Take legislative measures so that the President’s powers in expelling non-nationals out of the country and in branding a non-national as dangerous to peace and order can be subjected to judicial control.

59. Put in place mechanisms to encourage and promote women’s participation in the social, economic and political affairs of the State.

60. Make the necessary arrangements to build a separate prison for female prisoners.

61. Conduct consultations with all the relevant stakeholders involved in the administration of justice, including families of detainees with a view to increase the frequency and time duration of visit by friends and relatives of convicted prisoners.

62. Take the necessary legislative measures and material preparations to extend free legal assistance to all crimes where the accused person cannot afford to pay legal representation fees. Such assistance could be means tested.

63. Start implementing the 2006 decisions of the High Court in relation with the Basawara people of the Kalahari. In this regard, it should focus on the cultural rights and socio-economic needs of the Basawara people.

64. Consult and/or work closely with the African Commission’s Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities in Africa in finding practical ways of implementing the decisions of the Court.

65. Take the necessary steps to amend the provision of the Constitution which makes the English language a requirement for election to the National Assembly.

66. Promote civil societies and NGOs that provide free legal aid and should also enact laws that regulate legal aid.

67. Take the necessary measures to legislate laws that ensure basic compulsory education for all.

68. Look into ways of amending the law that requires minors to be accompanied by their parents for HIV testing.

69. Include standards like the Robben Island Guidelines in the human rights program of the Botswana Police College and the training of prison officers.

70. Inform the African Commission, in its next Periodic Report, of the steps it has taken to address the areas of concern, as well as how it has implemented the recommendations in this Concluding Observations.


Adopted at the 47th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights held from 12 to 26 May 2010, Banjul, The Gambia.

قدمت: نيسان 07 , 1993

الملاحظات الختامية:none