THE African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights (AfCHPR) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN- OHCHR) have agreed to enhance collaboration and strengthen relations to promote and protect human rights in the continent.
The two organisations have expressed their willingness to support each other's work at the international and regional levels, through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the AfCHPR President, Justice Sylvain Oré and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms Michelle Bachelet on the sidelines of the African Union's at the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of African State and Government in Addis Ababa at the weekend.
According to a statement released by the Arusha based court yesterday, the two organs are eager to cooperate in many areas, especially with regard to the interpretation and implementation of human rights norms and standards, as well as the practice of international and regional courts and tribunals.
"The Court and the UN Office share common values on humanity, including the culture of promoting and protecting human rights," explained Justice Oré during the signing ceremony, adding that the two organisations were natural allies in their common pursuit of justice.
In her brief rejoinder, UN- OHCHR Chief described the continental court as a critically important mechanism for the promotion and protection of peoples' and human rights in Africa.
"The Court is an invaluable partner in the region," she added. The negotiation and signing of the MoU were given renewed impetus during a meeting in September last year between UN human rights experts and the Court's judges and officials on the issue of the death penalty.
AfCHPR is a continental institution of the African Union (AU) that enhances the protection of human and people's rights in Africa. It was established by the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People's Rights.
The Charter is the main African human rights instrument that sets out the basic human rights standards for African citizens as well as States' obligations to respect and protect those rights.
The Arusha based Court is composed of 11 Judges, nationals of Member States of the African Union elected in their individual capacity