NAIROBI, Kenya, May 29- The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights Vice President Elsie Thomson has called on the African continent to focus more on promoting human rights through proper governance.
Thomson says the African Union specifically should ratify the protocol to support the quest saying the continent was ready for good leadership which consequently respects human rights.
“Today, we plant trees of human rights, justice, peace, unity and development and hope that in May 2063, we will reap the fruits and be proud to see the Africa we all dream for, and as our vision prescribes – an Africa with a viable human rights culture,” she said whiles addressing a forum in Tanzania where she called for renewed commitment and intensified efforts to accelerate human and people’s rights growth in a more sustainable and inclusive manner.
Thirty-two independent African countries met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to establish OAU to promote peace, unity and development on the continent.
Lady Justice Thomson, who spoke at a ceremony to commemorate the African Day at the Court premises in Arusha said the African Union, formerly the Organisation of African Unity, had registered huge achievements since its formation in 1963.
“In spite of the serious challenges and weaknesses, the OAU recorded significant successes, including the decolonization of the continent and the fight against Apartheid,” she pointed out.
“In 1999, following the changing international politico-economic order, it was realised that there was need to transform the OAU into a new body to meet the challenges of the time. The Sirte Declaration of 1999 was thus adopted in on 9 September 1999 calling for the establishment of the African Union, which was launched in 2002 in Durban, South Africa.”
The African Court’s President Ramadhani on his part urged African states to move with haste and ratify the protocol to enable their citizens and organizations in their country make use of the court.
So far, only 28 countries are State Parties to the protocol out of the 54 African Union member states, while only seven have deposited the declaration required for the Court to have jurisdiction to handle cases from the countries.
Records show that 38 contentious applications have so far been filed in Court, 10 judgments made, four cases referred to the African Commission on Human Rights, four struck out while 15 are pending.
Ten Kenyans arrested in Mozambique and taken to Tanzania are among applicants seeking justice at the continental court where they are accusing the Tanzanian authorities of violating their fundermental human rights, by failing to end their trial within “reasonable time”.
The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights is a continental court established by Member States of the African Union to ensure the protection of human and peoples’ rights in Africa.
The mandate of the Court is to complement and reinforce the functions of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Commission – often referred to as the Banjul Commission), which is a quasi-judicial body charged with monitoring the implementation of the Charter.