Pan African Human Rights Forum Underway in Banjul

By Bakary Ceesay 

The 65th Ordinary Session of The African Commission on Human and People’s Right (ACHPR) has kickoff in Banjul on Monday 21st October, 2019 at Kairaba Beach Hotel.

ACHPR on 21st October- 10 November, 2019 has brought together state parties, civil society member and human right defenders across the world to discuss on human rights and development across Africa. It is been held under the theme: “The year of refugees, returnees and internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to forced Displacement in Africa”

Hon. Justice Sylvain Ore, President of the African Court on Human and People’s Right said there can be no sustainable peace without efficient justice and that without sustainable peace development will be inevitably compromised.

He pointed out that this statement is more or less the official slogan of the African Union, whose Agenda 2063 includes peace and human rights as conditions for the realization of the social-economic and infrastructural development of the continent, its citizens.

He stated that in situation of refugees in Africa is a consequence of constant conflicts, adding that African should focus more on the causes of the conflicts and the most efficient ways of resolving them.

According to him, humanitarian crises and the incessant flow of refugees in Africa are mainly due to conflicts caused by serious and massive violations of human rights, the resultant of injustice or justice denied or wrongly applied.

Hon. Minata Samate Cessouma, Commissioner for Political Affairs African Union Commission explained that in 2015 African head of State and government adopted Agenda 2063 as the continental’s development blueprint for the next 50 years.

She pointed out that this aspiration puts emphasis on the need to build a culture of human rights as one of the durable ways of realizing a united prosperous and peaceful Africa.

“Our gathering here today is evidence of our collective dedication and commitment to this vision and the union’s broader efforts towards the Africa We Want”

She added that: “As we proceed with the implementation of the process of Agenda 2063, we must admit the challenges faced by our beloved continent in the promotion and protection of human and people’s rights, this requires us to focus our eyes on how best to advance rights that address underdevelopment, poverty, inequality, marginalization and exclusion on our continent as we make concerted efforts towards effective implementation of Agenda 2063”.

She stressed that they have to redouble their efforts to ensure that Africans enjoy the right to food, water, sanitation, housing, education, heath, decent clothing and clean environment.

Mr. Mahamane Cisse-Gouro, Chief Africa Branch of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights pointed out that this gathering is an opportunity to reflects on the achievements and challenges that continue to face since the adaptation of the OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa 50 years ago and the African Union Convention on Internally Displaced Persons (the Kampala Convention) in 2009.

He noted that these landmarks instruments adopted to address the situation of refugees, returnees and internal displaced persons in Africa are not adhering to by many state parties.

He lamented that refugees and migrants have increasingly become the target of violence and harassment, they are rejected, persecuted and treated like criminals and many migrants live and work in situations of extreme vulnerability.

Cisse-Gouro, pointed out that those in irregular situation are unable to access shelter, healthcare, education or other basic services.

Declaring the session open Dr. Isatou Touray, Vice President of The Gambia said this session is extremely important for the Africa continent to discuss human rights issues highlight the progress been made and challenges for building Africa we want for present and  future.

She said the increase of refugees and Internally Displaced Persons continues to be great concerns as African as situation of millions of people as IDPs from within and outside their territories continues to be manifested yearly on the continent.

“On result conflicts in South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Mali and Cameroon pose serious challenges on the continent,”

She stressed that African as a continent needs to address the deep rooted of the conflicts and finds a durable solutions for them so that citizens can live in dignity.

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