The Forum on the Participation NGOs in the 51st Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, ACHPR, is slated for April 14-16, 2012 in Banjul.
The ACHPR session will be held from 18 April to 2 May 2012.
The principal objectives of the Forum is to foster closer co-operation among NGOs, and with the African Commission; to provide a discussion platform to democracy and human rights NGOs in Africa; and to promote inter-regional networking for the implementation of decisions of the Forum as contained in the ACHPR Communiqué.
On the sidelines of the Forum is the 25th African Human Rights Book Fair, meant to enable NGOs network and renew the exchange of materials and information, and publicize their activities.
According to the organisers, the African Center for Democracy and Human Rights Studies, ACDHRS, the Forum will deliberate generally on the human rights situation in Africa. It will bring to the fore specific human rights situations to attract the attention of the African Commission, the international community and Governments.
Held biannually, the Forum serves as the main advocacy tool of the ACDHRS to support networking among human rights NGOs, for the promotion and protection of human rights in Africa.
Freedom of Expression remain a key human rights issue in Africa, however, its exclusion in the agenda of the Forum in April 2011 left free expression campaigners perplexed.
The Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), the African representative of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemned the action. The Pan-African journalists’ body argued the reason for the non-inclusion of free expression was given with “untrue rationale”.
According to FAJ, ACDHRS said it excluded Freedom of Expression in the panel of the NGO Forum due to a “late” request by the journalists grouping.
IFJ, FAJ and its affiliates facilitated the 1st Free Expression panel in 2010.
The last Forum held in Banjul, The Gambia in October 2011 attracted over 200 participants from civil society organizations in Africa and beyond, inter-state organizations, and the academia.
Written by Modou S. Joof
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