The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights will undertake sensitization mission to Praia, the Republic of Cape Verde, from December 13 to 15, 2017.

The sensitisation mission forms part of the on-going efforts of the African Court to interact with different stakeholders in order to deepen their understanding of the Continental Court’s mission and importance.

It is also to encourage African Union (AU) Member States’ to ratify the Protocol establishing the African Court and deposit the declaration under Article 34(6) which allows direct access to the Court by Non-governmental Organisations and individuals.

In a statement issued and signed by Dr Robert Eno, the African Court Registrar and copied to the Communication for Development and Advocacy Consult (CDA Consult) in Accra said so far, 30 out of 55 AU Member States have ratified the Protocol.

But only eight of countries have signed and deposited the declaration recognizing the competence of the African Court to receive cases from NGOs and individuals. The eight States are: Ghana, Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Malawi, Mali, Tanzania and Tunisia.

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According to the Dr Eno, the African Court delegation would include three Judges and Registry Staff. The team would hold a seminar for stakeholders and also pay courtesy calls on the President, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, among others.

Justice Sylvain Oré, African Court President explained in an interview that this is the fourth sensitisation visit undertaken by the African Court in 2017 and such efforts would continue into 2018.

He said for the African Court to achieve its objectives and further strengthen the African human rights system, a greater number of countries must ratify the Protocol and make the declaration under Article 34(6).

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The countries visited this year were: Arab Republic of Egypt and the Republic of Tunisia, both in April, and the Republic of Guinea Bissau in August.

The African Continental Court was established by virtue of Article 1 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Establishment of an African Court 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 African Court as a human rights protection mechanism requires much wider ratification of the Protocol by Member States, as well as their acceptance of the competence of the Court by making the declaration under Article 34(6).

This “universal” ratification will give the Court the legitimacy it needs to effectively discharge its mandate.

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Since December 2010, the Court has carried out continent-wide promotion programmes which have so far seen it undertake 28 sensitization visits and held 12 regional seminars and conferences.

The main objective of the sensitization visits is to enhance the protection of human rights in Africa.

Specific objectives include raising public awareness about the Court; encouraging the ratification of the Protocol and deposit of the Declaration that allows individuals and NGOs direct access to the African Court.

It is also educates would-be applicants on how to access the African Court and the procedures before the African Court; encourages the public to utilize the African Court in settling human rights disputes and encouraging the utilization of the African Court for advisory opinions.

Source: CDA Consult

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