Zimbabwe president assures of his country’s ratification of the protocol on establishment of the African court
August 19, 2019
By Wallace Mawire
The President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, H.E Emmerson Mnangagwa, has given assurance that Harare will ratify the Protocol establishing the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
He gave the assurance when receiving a delegation of the African Court led by its President, Hon Justice Sylvain Oré, and which included Judge Hon Justice Tujilane Rose Chizumila and senior Registry officials, at State House in Harare.
‘’We will act…we do not want to be left behind,’’ he stated, adding that Zimbabwe strongly cherishes and values Pan Africanism and the organs that exemplify this ideal.
‘’We will ratify the protocol,’’ he stressed, while wondering why Zimbabwe had not already done so earlier. Zimbabwe had signed the Protocol in 1998 but is yet to ratify it and make the Declaration under Article 34(6) to allow its citizens to access the Court directly.
The African Court delegation was in Zimbabwe on 14-15 August on a sensitisation visit at the invitation of the government.
The delegation has already met key stakeholders, including the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Speaker, the Chief Justice, and the Acting Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and the Bar Association, among others.
Over 50 key stakeholders today attended a national sensitisation seminar followed by discussions.
The African Court delegation conducted a similar sensitisation visit last week on 7-8 August to the Union of Comoros.
The President of Comoros, H.E Azali Assoumani, hailed the work of the Court and also underscored the importance of human rights.
‘’We have just set up a human rights commission and we want to ensure that all internal mechanisms are in place on exhaustion of local remedies,’’ he said, apparently in reference to a request made by the Court to make the Declaration under Article 34(6). Comoros ratified the Protocol on establishment of the Court in December 2013 but is yet to make the Declaration.
‘’The sensitisation visits to these two countries (Comoros and Zimbabwe) have been very positive and fruitful,’’ said Justice Oré. ‘’These visits have helped to raise awareness of the Court’s existence.’’
For the Court to discharge its mandate effectively and further strengthen the African continent’s human rights system, Justice Oré said, a greater number of countries must ratify the Protocol and make the Declaration under Article 34(6).
Since the adoption of the Protocol in June 1998, 30 out of 55 AU Member States have ratified it, but only nine State Parties to the Protocol have made the Declaration under Article 34(6). These are Burkina Faso, Benin, Ghana, The Gambia, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Malawi, Tanzania, and Tunisia.
Nkemnji Global Tech
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