Africa has to make stronger commitments to human rights issues if the continent is to make economic and democratic advances.
The president of the African Court for Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR), Justice Augustino Ramadhani, made the remarks at the opening of the national sensitisation seminar on the promotion of AfCHPR in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia over the weekend.
Ramadhani said the success of Africa’s agenda 2063 would depend largely on the importance given to the promotion, protection and enjoyment of human and peoples’ rights on the continent.
“History teaches us that respect for human rights, promotion of human development and the consolidation of peace, coupled with good political and economic governance are prerequisites for development,” he said.
Over 100 delegates drawn from government, diplomatic community, non-government organisations, lawyers, students, media and human rights organisations and activists attended the seminar.
Ramadhani called for continental support for the Arusha-based Court, the only judicial arm of the African Union (AU).
“The effectiveness of the Court requires the support of all stakeholders, in particular, member states of the AU,” Justice Ramadhani said.
He noted that since the Protocol establishing the Court was adopted in 1998, only 28 of the 54 AU member states have ratified it.
Out of these, only seven countries have made declarations allowing individuals and NGOs to bring cases directly to the Court.
These include Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Malawi, Mali, Rwanda and hosts Tanzania.
The Director General, International Legal Affairs Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Reta Alemu Nega, said Africa has now stood up to its responsibilities in the promotion and protection of human rights.
“Steps have been taken over the past five decades to introduce legislative and institutional frameworks in relation to human rights. One of the achievements in this regard is the adoption of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights and the creation of the African Commission to follow up on the implementation,’’ he said.