The African Court on Human and People’s Right has sensitized about 100 stakeholders in Guinea Bissau with the view to promote the Court in the West African country which is yet to ratify the Protocol to the African Court.

Mr Soares Sambú, Guinea Bissau Minister for State in charge of Council of Ministers and Parliamentary Affairs who opened the seminar on behalf of the Prime Minister, Umaro Sissoco Embaló, reassured the participants that the government attached very high importance to issues of human rights.

He also thanked the African Court for organising the seminar in Bissau and challenged the stakeholders to come out of the seminar with a better understanding of the African Court and protection of human rights.

The African Court President, Justice Sylvain Oré, exposed the participants to the jurisdiction of the Court, Advisory Opinions, Access to the African Court, Admissibility of cases, the sources of law, considerations of a case, and hearings and presentation.

He also educated the participants on the composition of the African Court, and nomination procedure.

Justice Ore explained that in order for the African Court to achieve its objectives, there is a need for more countries to ratify the Protocol and deposit the Declaration that allows access to the Court by Non-Governmental Organizations and individuals.

He said so far, only 30 out of 55 AU Member States have ratified the Protocol, and only 8 countries have made a declaration under Article 34(6) that allows access to the Court by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and individuals.

The eight countries, the African Court President identified as: Burkina Faso, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Malawi, Tanzania and Tunisia.

He therefore charged African Civil Society Organisations and Non-Governmental Organisations to support the efforts of the African Court and also engage their various governments for ratification of the Protocol.

The African Court sensitization delegation to Guinea Bissau was led by its President Justice Sylvain Oré, and it included the Vice President Justice Ben Kioko, Justice Angelo Matusse and some Registry staff.

The African Court delegation also held talks with the President and Prime Minister of Guinea Bissau as well as the Chief Justice; the Minister for Public Affairs (standing-in for the Minister of Justice); the First Vice President of the National Assembly; the Bar Association; and the Guinea Bissau National Commission on Human Rights, among others.

The African 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’ Right.

It was 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.

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Source: CDA Consult