International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
Joint press release
49th session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR)
The African Commission should continue to support democratic movements on the continent
Banjul, Nairobi, Paris, Cairo, April 28, 2011 – FIDH and its member organizations from Algeria, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Tunisia, Burkina Faso, Togo, Guinea-Conakry, Senegal, Sudan and Zimbabwe, present at the 49th Session of the ACHPR, which opened on April 28th, urge the Commission to support democratic movements on the Continent by adopting resolutions on the North Africa situation and condemning violations of human rights perpetrated in particular in Libya, Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Ivory Coast and in Burundi.
The FIDH and its members in Libya and in Burkina Faso are calling on the Commission to adopt resolutions on these countries who present their periodic report on compliance with the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights so that in Burkina Faso, the right to demonstrate, the right not to be arbitrarily detained or the right to life and physical integrity until recently abused are finally guaranteed. On Libya, FIDH and the Libyan League renew their congratulations to the Commission for passing their communication to the African Court on Human Rights concerning the massive and systematic violations of human rights perpetrated by the power of Mouhamar Ghaddafi. In view of the continuing systematic attacks against civilians in Libya and the Libyan authorities’ refusal to comply with the recommendations of the Commission and Court to stop the violence, the Commission must adopt a new resolution condemning the escalating abuses arising from the criminal Mouhamar Ghaddafi regime.
The Commission furthermore has the opportunity to renew, by a resolution, its support to the wave of democracy especially in Tunisia and Egypt. The Commission should then decide to visit these countries to support the establishment of democratic institutions and help them to finally ensure effectively the rights recognized under the African Charter and African instruments for the protection of human rights. “The democratic movement in North Africa is a unique momentum and a historic opportunity for Africa as a whole. In this 30th anniversary of the African Charter, the Commission has a rendez-vous with history by supporting the aspirations of Africa and Africans to live freely and peacefully ” said FIDH Honorary President, Mr. Sidiki KABA, opening the NGO’s Forum.
Faced with situations of serious human rights violations prior or after elections such as in Ivory Coast, Djibouti and Burundi, the Commission must condemn these violations and call on countries to ratify and comply with the provisions of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Good Governance. The Commission should reiterate its condemnation of impunity for the perpetrators of these crimes.
Since 2005, FIDH and its members accompanied the Commission and its Working Group on the death penalty to complete a report on capital punishment in Africa that will recommend the drafting of a protocol banning the death penalty on continent. “The Commission shall adopt the report of the Working Group on the death penalty during this session to allow African institutions to adopt legal instruments to end the death penalty in Africa” said FIDH’s president, Ms. Souhayr Belhassen.
Finally, FIDH and its members call upon States of the African Union not to interfere with the work of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights as some have done so during the last Summit of Heads of States and Governments held in Addis Ababa in January 2011 by failing to adopt the report of the Commission which would denounce violations committed in some African countries. Instead, “AU states must guarantee the independence and support the mandate of the Commission in particular when many African nations are fighting for their freedom and claiming their legitimate rights guaranteed by the African instruments for the Protection of Human Rights” added FIDH President, Ms Souhayr Belhassen.
Arthur Manet: +33 1 43 55 90 19 / +33 6 72 28 42 94
Karine Appy : + 33 1 43 55 14 12 / + 33 6 48 05 91 57