Sunday, 14 March 2010

Africa urged to domesticate adopted rights instrument

Delegates at a regional human rights confab have called on African leaders to move towards domesticating and implementing the numerous adopted instruments.
This call was made in Banjul, where participants from various African Union organs were gathered with a view to developing modalities for enhancing the Human Rights Strategy for the continent. The Banjul meeting was also aimed at establishing ‘‘the practice and focus action on moving forward the collective Human Rights Strategy; and make recommendations for building synergies between the strategy and other governance initiatives in Africa,’’ according to a press release published by the African Union Commission, Thursday 11 March, 2010.
“We must not lose sight of the shift towards a shared values approach in the protection and promotion of human rights in Articles 3 and 4 of the AU Constitutive Act, which emphasizes the significance of good governance, the rule of law and human rights”, Dr Mamadou Dia - Head of the African Union Division of Governance, Human Rights and Elections, was quoted as telling delegates at the opening ceremony of the Banjul meeting. ‘‘The meeting must therefore take the human rights agenda from being a mosaic of good intentions to a shared value or a common denominator that binds our common destiny”, he added.
Dr Dia, who disclosed that the theme of the January 2011 AU Summit is “Shared Values”, went on to emphasis the need for other institutions to work together with the African Union in order to usher in a new order of global shared values.
Participants at the meeting, which concluded last Saturday, were drawn from AU organs with a human rights mandate and Regional Economic Communities such as the AU Commission, the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, the African Court on Human and People’s Rights and ECOWAS. The United Nations and other development partners, international institutions, civil society and other stakeholders were also represented.
‘‘Africa has developed many human rights institutions, charters and protocols, and there has been notable progress in observance of human rights on the continent,’’ the release noted. It added that human rights are universal and indivisible, and that they are at the heart of good governance, democracy and sustainable development.
‘‘There is no doubt that the African human rights agenda provides a robust basis for the continent’s renewal,’’ the release went on to state.
It however added that 60 years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and three decades after the adoption of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, the continent is still grappling with the gap that exists between the human rights vision that it seeks to establish and the reality that confronts it.
‘‘In this regard, there is need for coordination, collaboration and coherence among the different actors in the human rights sphere and to develop a human rights strategy for Africa,’’ the release concluded.

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