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African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights

Statement by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Spread of the Ebola Virus


Recalling its mandate to promote and protect human and peoples’ rights in Africa under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Charter);

Recalling Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which guarantees the right to health, Article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Article 16 of the African Charter;

Further recalling Resolution ACHPR/Res.73(XXXV1)04 on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Africa adopted by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights at its 36th Ordinary Session held from 23 November to 7 December 2004 in Dakar, Senegal;

Noting the Principles and Guidelines on the Implementation of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights which underscore the minimum essential obligations in relation to Article 16 of the African Charter;

Mindful of the Pretoria Declaration on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Africa of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission) calling on Member States to improve health facilities and services;

Considering that the right to health is a fundamental right guaranteed in Article 16 of the African Charter which provides for the right to enjoy the best attainable state of physical and mental health;

Reaffirming the Commission’s commitment to promote the fundamental rights of the people of Africa and in particular economic, social and cultural rights;

Welcoming the efforts made by States, the World Health Organisation, civil society and Africa’s partners in responding to the Ebola outbreak;

Determined to remind Member States of their obligations under the African Charter as the primary guarantors of the economic, social and cultural rights of their people towards ensuring their physical and mental wellbeing;

Guided by the principles contained in African and United Nations human rights instruments;

Noting that the current spread of the Ebola virus is unprecedented and has indescribable consequences of suffering and prevention from fully enjoying economic, social and cultural rights;

The Commission:

1. Calls on Member States to avoid all decisions which slow down an effective response to the virus, in particular by opening, in a controlled manner, borders to facilitate access to health and social services for infected and affected persons;

 

2.    Urges the affected States and the African Union to work closely with the World Health Organisation and national and international partners on prevention and treatment measures which do not infringe on economic, social and cultural rights;

 

  1. Calls on AU Member States to strengthen regional and sub-regional coordination towards a robust response by setting up joint sub-regional and pan-African emergency mechanisms to monitor and implement WHO guidelines and conduct research;

 

  1. Calls on Member States to mobilise the necessary human and financial resources for an appropriate response and the search for an effective treatment for the deadly virus;

 

  1. Calls on Member States, civil society and other national partners to step up prevention sensitisation campaigns and raise public awareness of individual and collective protection;

 

  1. Calls on Africa’s partners and pharmaceutical companies to increase their efforts which are indispensable in reducing the suffering and adversity experienced by some African countries.

 

 

 

Banjul, 11 September 2014