The three-day African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights (AfCHPR) sensitisation mission to Praia, Republic of Cape Verde, from 13 to 15 December 2017 was a great success, according to the Court's President Justice Sylvain Oré. During the Mission, the African Court delegation met high level officials, including the acting President of Republic of Cape Verde, H.E Jorge Santos, who is also the President of the National Assembly; the Prime Minister Hon. Ulisses Correia; the President of the Constitutional Court, Joȃo Semedo; Attorney General, Oscar Silva Travares; the Ombudsman, Antonio do Espirito Santo; and the President of the Human Rights Commission, Zaida Freitas, among others.
The Court delegation, composed of three Judges and Registry Staff, also jointly organised with the Government of Republic of Cape Verde a half-day sensitisation seminar for stakeholders about the Court.
" We had a very warm and friendly discussions with the Acting President and the Prime Minister and we are looking forward to Cape Verde's ratification of the Protocol establishing the African Court," Justice Oré said.
The sensitisation mission is part of the on-going efforts of the Court to interact with different stakeholders in order to deepen their understanding of the Court's mission and importance and to encourage African Union (AU) Member States' to ratify the Protocol establishing the AfCHPR and deposit the declaration under Article 34(6) which allows direct access to the Court by NGOs and individuals.
So far, 30 out of 55 AU Member States have ratified the Protocol and only 8 of them have deposited the declaration recognising the competence of the Court to receive cases from NGOs and individuals. These 8 States are: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Malawi, Mali, Tanzania and Tunisia.
The sensitisation visit to Cape Verde was the fourth by the Court in 2017.
The other sensitisations undertaken were to the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Republic of Tunisia, both in April, and the Republic of Guinea Bissau in August.
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
1. The AfCHPR was established by virtue of Article 1 of 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.
2. The success of the Court as a human rights protection mechanism requires much 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.
3. Since December 2010, the Court has carried out continent-wide promotion programmes which have so far seen it undertake 28 sensitisation visits and held
12 regional, continental seminars and conferences.
4. The main objective of the sensitisation visits is to enhance the protection of human rights in Africa. Specific objectives include raising public 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 and legal counsels 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.
Further information on the Court can be obtained from the Court's website at www.african-court.org
For more comments:
Dr Robert Eno, Registrar
Tel: +255 2970430; 02970431; 02970432; 02970433; 02970434; 02970435