, ARUSHA, Tanzania Sep 19 – The Arusha-based African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) and the Banjul-based African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) today began their Fifth Annual Meeting in Arusha, Tanzania.
The African Court’s President Justice Sylvain Oré, said that the Annual Meeting that started on Monday until Thursday serves to cement relationship of cooperation based on complementarity between the two institutions.
“They will discuss progress, among others, on the establishment of the Legal Aid Fund; the creation of the Pan African Human Rights Institute; and 2016 celebrations to mark the African Year of Human Rights,” a statement from the court’s Communications chief Sukhdev Chhatbar said.
The meeting comes a week after the nnewly elected African Court President Justice Ore urged more countries to ratify the protocol establishing the court to enable more people access to justice at the continental body.
Justice Ore said so far only 30 countries had ratified the protocol out of the 54 in the continent.
“I urge more countries to ratify the protocol establishing the court,” he told journalists in Arusha, “It is a matter of time and we are hopeful all the African countries will come in.”
Justice Ore of Ivory Coast who was elected President last week replaces Augustino Ramadhani. He is deputised by Justice Ben Kioko from Kenya.
Chad is the latest country to ratify the protocol that came into force in 2004 for the African Court on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) which is based in Arusha, Tanzania.
The states which have so far ratified the protocol include Kenya, Chad, Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Ivory Coast, Comoros, Congo, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, and Libya.
Others are Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Niger, Uganda, Rwanda, The Republic of Arab Sahrawi, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo and Tunisia.
Apart from ratifying the protocol, member states are required to make a declaration under Article 34 (6) to allow individuals and Non-Governmental Organisations file cases directly.
Established by the African Union, the ACHPR’s mandate is to protect human rights while ensuring justice prevails.
Only eight states have so far complied in making the declaration; Tanzania, Rwanda, Mali, Malawi, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso.