Saturday, November 5, 2011

Special Coverage: 50th Session of African Commission...

Atoki replaces Alapini-Gansou as ACHPR Chairperson
Hon Reine Alapini-Gansou
Nigerian born Honourable Catherine Dupe Atoki has been elected Chairperson of African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) during the 50th Ordinary Session of the Commission held in the Gambian capital, Banjul.
Atoki was the Commission’s Special Rapporteur on Prevention of Torture in Africa; she replaces Madam Reine Alapini-Gansou as Chairperson of the ACHPR, to oversee the affairs of Commission for the next two years. She will be assisted by Hon. Kayitesi Zainabo Sylvie, as Vice-chairperson.
Commissioner Sylvie, a Rwandan, is the ACHPR’s Special Rapporteur on Refugees, Internally Displaced Person and Migrants.
In her last address as Chair of the Commission during the 50th Ordinary Session, Commissioner Alapini-Gansou pay tribute to her colleagues for the time spent together in difficult moments characterized by stormy debates, but for a good cause which usually ended in embraces and signs of peace.

She said she will keep the memory of a united team of men and women full of love for a job, a job well done in total selflessness for the cause of human rights in Africa. During her term of office, the Commission focused on capacity building and cooperation with the other organs in Africa and the world.

However, she admitted that, she is aware of the human rights problems that are lurking around Africa among them; nationality, sexual orientation and corruption.  Apart  from  the traditional human rights  problems which  are of real concern,  the ACHPR  over the last two years went through a “highly critical period” with  serious budgetary problems.

“Our budget was cut for no apparent reason at the time, as by magic, the ACHPR partners who we refer to as friends of the Commission, decided to no longer offer us technical and financial assistance. This action which didn’t have any legal basis, had been taken by a good number of our donors,” Madam Gansou reveals.

She laments that the decision affected the work of the Commission in discharging their mandate of control and monitoring, adding that “after twenty-five years of existence, the African Commission remains the least resourced organs on the African continent as far budgetary allocation is concerned.”

The Togolese-born Madam Alapini-Gansou, who will now serve as the ACHPR’s Special Rapporteur for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders in Africa, it is certain that at the institutional level, the Commission is witnessing differentiated treatment between similar organs of the African Union (AU).

Author: Modou S. Joof

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