By LUCAS BARASA |
The Arusha-based African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) takes its push for more countries to embrace it to Sierra Leone and Liberia next week.
A statement from the Court Registrar Robert Eno said a delegation from AfCHPR will undertake sensitization missions to Sierra Leone from August 2 – 3 and Liberia from August 6 – 7.
“The sensitization missions are 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 to encourage States to ratify the Protocol establishing the AfCHPR and to deposit the declaration under Article 34(6), which allows direct access to the Court by NGOs and individuals,” the statement said.
Thirty out of 55 African Union (AU) member states have ratified the Protocol and only eight of them have deposited the declaration. These eight are: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Malawi, Mali, Tanzania and Tunisia.
Sierra Leone and Liberia are yet to ratify the Protocol establishing the Court.
‘’Sierra Leone and Liberia have made tremendous democratic gains in recent years and I encourage them to ratify the Protocol and to deposit the declarations,’’ AfCHPR President Sylvain Oré said.
The Court delegation, composed of two judges and registry staff, will hold seminars for human rights stakeholders in the two West African countries and also pay courtesy calls on the respective presidents, and state and civil rights officials.
The AfCHPR was established by virtue of Article 1 of the Protocol to the African Charter 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.
The success of the court requires a wider ratification of the Protocol by AU member states, as well as their acceptance of the competence of the Court, by making the declaration under Article 34(6). This “universal” ratification, it says, will give the Court the legitimacy it needs to effectively discharge its mandate.