NGO FORUM


Monday 15 May 2006

Chairperson,

Honourable Commissioners,
The Human Rights Institute of South Africa, a member of the Coalition for an Effective African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, wishes to make a statement on behalf of the NGO Forum.
Resolution on the operationalization of an independent and effective African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, We the representatives of non-governmental organisations attending the NGO forum of the 39th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Express satisfaction at the entry into force of the Protocol establishing the African Court on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) and the subsequent operationalization of the ACHPR in spite of the decision to integrate both the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the Court of Justice of the AU,
Welcome the election of the Judges of the ACHPR at the January 2006 AU Summit in Khartoum, Sudan,Deeply concerned at the inadequate gender representation of the Judges of the ACHPR,Emphasize that the entry into force of the Protocol establishing the ACHPR imposes a legal obligation on Member States to complete the process of operationalization of an effective, impartial and independent ACHPR, Recognise that our continent faces serious human rights violations and the existence of the prevailing culture of impunity,

The NGO Forum therefore urges the African Commission to adopt a resolution
Supporting and participating in the full establishment of an independent and effective ACHPR and the establishment of a Human Rights Fund; Urging Member States that have not yet ratified the Protocol to do so and make the declaration under article 34(6); We welcome the announcement by the government of Mali that it made this declaration recently; Participating in future discussions on the merger of the two courts, in particular, to ensure that the human rights mandate of the ACHPR is fully maintained in line with the Protocol and the establishment of the ACHPR; Ensuring that the Working Group on working methods of operations of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights consult widely with civil society on the ways to ensure the effective relationship between the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights and the African Court.

Urging the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the AU
1. To complete the process of operationalization of an independent and effective human rights court without further delay, through the final determination of the seat of the Court, allocation of adequate resources and determination of other operational issues,

2. to ensure without further delay that the ACHPR is established at a place that guarantees its independence and effectiveness as well as easy access for victims and civil society organisations,

3. to ensure that the Judges are adequately resourced to do their work;

4. to establish without delay the Human Rights Fund so as to ensure sustainable and adequate funding to human rights institutions and organs of the African Union including the ACHPR;

5. to respect the independence, impartiality and integrity of the ACHPR now and when the new legal instrument integrating the ACHPR and the Court of Justice of the AU is elaborated;

Demanding to the Member States of the African Union
6. to ratify the Protocol establishing the ACHPR if they have not done so;

7. to make the declaration under article 34(6) of the Protocol if they have not yet done so;

8. to make contributions to the immediate establishment of a Human Rights Fund;

9. To respect the independence, impartiality and integrity of the ACHPR now and when the new legal instrument integrating the ACHPR and the Court of Justice of the AU is elaborated.

I thank you.

         

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