Friday, May 8, 2015

Africans Have To Demand That Their Governments Respect Their Rights

US Ambassador Reuben Brigety says 'power never concedes anything that is not demanded of it' (Photo: MSJoof/TNBES)


“Africans have to demand for themselves that their own governments respect the rights that they sworn and agreed to,” United States Ambassador to the African Union said on Friday.

Power never concedes anything that is not demanded of it – that is a lesson that is true the world over - across history and across time, Reuben Brigety said.

Mr. Brigety, who is in Banjul as part of US-AU ties to strengthen human rights on the continent based on a pillar of democracy and good governance, told a press conference at the American Corner on Kairaba Avenue on May 8:

“In Africa, the good news is that African countries have adopted a number of treaties, protocols and agreements to uphold the human rights of their own people.

“But they also have indigenous homegrown charters such as the African Charter for Democracy and Human Rights which is an African expression of African human rights adopted by Africans for Africans.

“And our view as a partner is that we are not pushing Africa and should not push Africa to do anything that Africans have not decided that they are going to do for themselves already.”

Brigety, also a U.S. representative to the UN Economic Commission of Africa, said now the question is: how African institutions, can make real and effective for every African citizen, the human rights objectives and standards that their governments have adopted themselves.

“That is part of the reasons that I came to The Gambia to explore ways in which my government can partner with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to help its own mandate of promoting the protection of human rights in Africa,” he said.

We had a very fruitful discussion and I suspect that we will see some concrete results in the coming months, Brigety added.

However, he said: “The other part is that Africans have to demand for themselves that their own governments respect the rights that they sworn and agreed to – power never concedes anything that is not demanded of it – that is a lesson that is true the world over - across history and across time.

“And my government is particularly supportive of African civil society organizations that work to advance human rights and the humane treatment of African citizens by their own governments.” 

Written by Modou S. Joof


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