African Human Rights Court to visit Sierra Leone

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 July 30, 2018

africa
President of the Court, Hon Justice Sylvain Ore

The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) will undertake sensitisation missions to Sierra Leone from 2 to 3 August and to the Republic of Liberia from 6 to 7 August.

A release from the court registrar stated that the sensitisation missions would be part of on-going efforts of the Court to interact with different stakeholders in order to deepen understanding of the Court’s mission and to encourage States to ratify the Protocol establishing the AfCHPR and to deposit the declaration under Article 34(6), which allows direct access to the Court by NGOs and individuals.

According to the release, 30 out of 55 African Union (AU) Member States have ratified the Protocol but only 8 of them – Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Malawi, Mali, Tanzania and Tunisia – have deposited their declaration.

“Both Sierra Leone and Liberia are yet to ratify the Protocol establishing the Court. Sierra Leone and Liberia have made tremendous democratic gains in recent years and I encourage them to ratify the Protocol and to deposit the declarations,” underscored the President of the AfCHPR, Hon Justice Sylvain Oré.

The Court delegation, comprising two Judges and Registry Staff, will hold seminars for human rights stakeholders in the two West African countries and also pay courtesy calls on the respective Presidents, Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Ministers of Justice, Speakers, Heads of Constitutional Courts, Human Rights Commissions and Bar Associations, among others.

The release further informed that the AfCHPR was established by virtue of Article 1of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, to complement the protective mandate of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, with a view to enhancing the protection of human rights on the continent.

It noted that the success of the Court as a human rights protection mechanism requires a wider ratification of the Protocol by Member States, as well as their acceptance of the competence of the Court, by making the declaration under Article 34(6).

This “universal” ratification will give the Court the legitimacy it needs to effectively discharge its mandate.

Since December 2010, the Court has carried out continent-wide promotion programmes which have so far seen it undertake 25 national sensitisations.

‘The main objective of the sensitisation visits is to enhance the protection of human rights in Africa. Specific objectives include raising awareness about the Court; encouraging the ratification of the Protocol and deposit of the Declaration that allows individuals and NGOs direct access to the Court; sensitising would-be applicants on how to access the Court and the procedures before the Court; encouraging the public to utilise the Court in settling human rights disputes and encouraging the utilisation of the Court for advisory opinions.’