ACHPR: Contribution on the situation of defenders in Africa

Report
from World Organisation Against Torture
Published on 28 Nov 2005
African Commission for Human and Peoples' Rights
38th ordinary session, Banjul, November 2005

Contribution by: The International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT).

Under their joint programme: The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

Under the topic on the agenda: "Situation of Human Rights Defenders"

The FIDH and the OMCT, under their joint programme, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, would like to draw the attention of the members of the African Commission of Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) on the worsening situation of human rights defenders in the African continent in 2005.

Indeed, this year was marked by numerous acts of violence, including killings, against human rights defenders in a great number of countries, in particular the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Tunisia and Zimbabwe. These acts, along with the many forms of repression (death threats, arbitrary arrests, judicial proceedings, harassment etc.), amount to a flagrant violation of the provisions of the African Charter for Human and Peoples' Rights and of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1988.

Lastly, the acts of reprisal against human rights defenders in Africa have mostly gone unpunished.

In view of the upsurge in attacks against human rights defenders, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders calls upon:

the Member States of the African Commission for Human and Peoples' Rights to:

- recognise the crucial role played by human rights defenders in implementing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other instruments relating to human rights, including the African Charter of Human and Peoples' Rights, and also in preventing conflicts, in the accession of the rule of law and in democracy,

- put an end to any form of repression against human rights defenders and comply with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular articles 1 and 12.2,

- ensure that the text of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by consensus in 1998, is distributed as widely as possible.

the African Commission for Human and Peoples' Rights:

- to adopt at its 38th session a resolution renewing the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders.

- to keep up and increase collaboration with the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on human rights defenders, as well as with the other regional mechanisms protecting human rights defenders.

Contents:

I - Killings / Attempt of killings

II - Attacks / Torture / Mistreatment

III - Threats

IV - Arrests / Arbitrary detentions / Judicial proceedings

V - Constraints on Freedoms of Association, Assembly and Demonstration

VI - Recommendations

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