Thursday, November 25, 2010

African Charter is Manifesto for a Better Developed Africa

Banjul, The Gambia (TNBES) The African Charter is our manifesto for a better developed Africa; it calls for a shared commitment to Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and integral process in our region, said Gambian Solicitor General Awa Bah.

“Africa is blessed with diverse ecology and abundance of wealth, but the wealth of our natural resources is yet to benefit the African populace the proceeds generated from our natural proceeds is
beneficial to transnational corporation, rebels, and corrupt governments, resulting to marginalization of pastoral groups and unlawful evictees which has impoverished Africa,” she stated.

Gambia’s Solicitor General made this remarks at the closing of the 47th Ordinary Session of African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, at the Laico Atlantic Hotel in Banjul on 26th May 2010.

According to her, the 1998 Maastricht Guideline on Violation of Economic Social and Cultural Rights challenged National Human Rights Commission, to advocate for the promotion of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as vigorously as they address violations of civil and political rights.

She pointed out that The Gambia has not incorporated the substantive provisions of Economic Social and Cultural Rights, but its policies are developed through a lens that addresses the right to development, health and adequate standard of living.

Speaking further, Ms Bah stated that The Gambia values the importance of sustainable agriculture and food self sufficiency adding that it has reformed the existing agrarian system, which includes new improve method of productions in rice cultivation, animal husbandry and the appropriate equipments to increases the yield per unit of the “narika” rice cultivated land and the promotion of agriculture research.

She also said The Gambia is aware that need to accentuate and reinforce Economic Social and Cultural Rights underscores  parallel development with rural and urban development by promoting health care and education rights, through proportional physical infrastructure by geographical location, as well as rural electrification and access to safe water.

On the launching of the Guideline for State Reporting under the Protocol to the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights and on the Rights  of Women in Africa at the 47th Session, she said it is demonstrative of the concerted efforts of the Commission in promoting women  rights in Africa.

She added that, she is of the opinion that this is a bold step in curbing violence against women and enhancing gender parity, urging the Commission to ensure that various Governments share their resolve to advance, promote and protect the spirit, intent and objectives of the African Charter.

Commissioner Reine Alapini-Gansou, Chairperson of the African Commissioner on Human and People’s Rights, stated that the Commission acknowledges at the 47th Session that one of the greatest handicaps that it is faced with is the ineffectiveness of its mandate of protection of human rights on the continent and the great cause of satisfaction drawn from the session.

In her view, the final adoption of new rules of procedure which seeks to be a tool for progress at the service of the development of human rights and which sanction their necessary complementary with the African Court on Human and People’s Rights in the protection of Human and Peoples’ rights on the continent, represents and achievement that the collective commitment of the actors can transform into a victory for the
continent in favour of peace, justice and democracy.

She said that ACHPR want to seize the Court on behalf of  the victims, but there is still remain numerous efforts to be deployed to make the African Court and  the ACHPR accessible to all, adding all the citizens of the continent  need to know the remedies which the two institutions have to offer and how to take
ownership of these mechanisms.

Commissioner Alapini-Gansou admits there is a lot to be done, that there is a need to remind the States Parties of their primordial responsibility of promoting and protection their citizens’ human rights noting that one of the essential means remains sensitization and training  on the working tools of the Commission.

She said the Members of the ACHPR had the opportunity to listen to the  each and everyone, and this
has allowed them to appreciate the  human rights situation on the continent and also enable them to reflect on the solutions and responses that could be brought to the important or urgent situations  which the populations have to content with noting that therein lies  the entire interest of the Resolution they have made.

“Indeed, issues linked to prevention and protection of women and girls against trafficking and sexual exploitation during and after the world cup in South Africa.

Issues is relating to the human rights of the individuals living with HIV and persons at risk, the rights of Human Rights defenders and journalists, the crucial issue of the human rights of  populations before, during and
post elections and this  in relation to the fact that elections are due to be held  this year in several States Parties to  the Charter constitute that many  subjects of concern which retained  our attention during our
deliberations,” she pointed out adding  that this justifies the Resolution adopted by ACHPR Commissioner.

She stressed that all decision need to be implemented in the immediate future noting that this  is the most difficult part of  their task during the intersession in view of all the other activities the ACHPR have to carry out as required by the Charter, which they are already engaged in despite the modest resources at
their disposal.

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