The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission), at its 65th Ordinary Session held from 21 October to 10 November 2019, in Banjul, The Gambia, adopted Resolution ACHPR/Res.432(LXV) 2019 on the Elaboration of an African Declaration on the Promotion of the Role of Human Rights Defenders and their Protection in Africa.
The Resolution falls within the framework of Article 45 (1) (b) of the African Charter which empowers the Commission to “Formulate and elaborate, with a view to serving as a basis for the adoption of legislative texts by African governments, principles and rules which make it possible to resolve legal problems relating to the enjoyment of human and peoples’ rights and fundamental freedoms”.
The Commission entrusted the drafting of this declaration to the mechanism of the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders and Focal Point on Reprisals in Africa (Special Rapporteur).
The Resolution also recommended the adoption of an inclusive approach by all stakeholders in the drafting of this Declaration, while inviting State and non-State actors to lend their support to the realisation of this project.
In this respect, the Special Rapporteur has, in accordance with this resolution, prepared a draft Declaration which was presented at a panel organised during the 77th Ordinary Session held from 20 October to 9 November 2023 in Arusha, Tanzania, with a view to initiating discussions with all stakeholders and gathering opinions on improving its content.
The ultimate objective of this Regional Declaration is to appropriate at continental level the Conventions and other standards and guidelines adopted at global level, especially the 1998 United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, and to address the causes and aspects specific to the African context in order to find appropriate solutions to restore a civic space conducive to the promotion and effective protection of human rights. This is the same logic that our continent has followed in the context of international conventions on human rights, which have been duplicated or adapted to the realities of our continent.
In this context, States have been encouraged to adopt laws on the protection of human rights defenders, following the example of Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
With this in mind, a consultative process was set up in line with the Commission’s best practice. The draft Declaration has been published (link) to obtain the views of all stakeholders. Stakeholders are invited to submit their contributions with a view to improving the final text.
How and where to submit inputs:
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR).