What will happen during the NGO Forum and 73rd ordinary session of the African Commission?
The NGO Forum
The Forum on the Participation of NGOs in the Ordinary Sessions of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission), also known as the ‘NGOs Forum’ is an advocacy platform coordinated by the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS) to promote advocacy, lobbying and networking among and between human rights NGOs, for the promotion and protection of human rights in Africa. The NGOs Forum shares updates on the human rights situation in Africa by the African and international NGOs community with a view of identifying responses as well as adopting strategies towards the promotion and protection of human rights in the continent.
This session will be hosted in a hybrid format with in person and online participation made available for those unable to travel to Banjul. It will be framed around the theme of “ACHPR celebrating 35 years of human and peoples’ rights and Governance in Africa: Adopting a Multi-dimensional Approach in Addressing Conflict, Crisis and Inequality”.
The general content of the Forum will cover these main thematic areas:
- The Situation of Human Rights and democracy in Africa, with a focus on emerging trends and countries to be reviewed during the 73rd session, namely the Islamic Republic of Mauritania and the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire.
- Conflicts: There has been resurgence of terrorists and violent extremists’ activities in countries such as Nigeria, DRC, Mozambique, Burkina Faso and Somalia, resulting in continued devastating atrocities against civilians, security agencies, and critical infrastructures.
- The Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement: The AfCFTA will create the largest trading block in the world. With all 55 African countries signing on, this agreement will be the world’s largest by number of countries. However, in relation to agriculture and agri-business, there is a need for the protection and empowerment of the welfare of Small Market Enterprises.
- Digital rights and security: A lot of African countries have been experiencing internet or social media shutdowns. Digital rights and security are increasingly under threat, with some countries suffering disruptions to communications on more than one occasion.
- Climate Change, Covid-19 and Gender: Africa is acutely aware of the need for climate action, but such action should also support the region’s development and industrialisation ambitions. Increase in forced migration, climate induced migration and the impact of COVID-19 on mobility remains key in African migration issues to watch in 2023.
- Networking for Human Rights in Africa, adoption of strategies, best practices for contribution towards the attainment of peace, security and development in Africa.
- Special Interest Group Discussions, which will allow participants to identify recommendations to address challenges raised in panel discussions.
- Panel discussions will:
- Celebrate 35 years of the ACHPR and take stock of its work especially regarding women’s rights and the rights of other vulnerable groups;
- Examine issues around elections and conflicts unfolding around the process within the continent from a sub-regional lens;
- Show how stakeholder engagements can contribute to the creation of a more robust civic space and ensure the implementation of existing frameworks more consistently to guarantee meaningful civil society participation in issues of public interest;
- Examine the role of stakeholders in ensuring that member states that ratified charters, treaties, protocols or conventions adhere and fast track delivery on commitments on the good governance and the promotion and protection of human rights;
- Look into issues of environmental degradation and strategies in combating climate change and its effects on the continent;
- Evaluate the impacts of AFCTA on human rights in Africa and the role of NGOs in this regard;
- Evaluate the effectiveness of the partnership between the regional and international human rights mechanisms encapsulated in the said Road Map.
Register for the NGO Forum here.
The 73rd ordinary session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
Panels and Launches (Item 5 cont’d)
- Panel on the AU Theme of the Year: Year of Nutrition, Strengthening resilience in nutrition and food security on the African Continent, 22 October, 10:00am – 11:00am (GMT)
- Panel Discussion on the State Reporting Obligations and Guidelines on Reporting under the Maputo Protocol, 22 October, 11:15am– 12:15pm (GMT)
- Panel Discussion on the Next Decade of the Addis Ababa Road Map, 22 October, 2:30pm– 3:30pm (GMT)
- Launch of the Guidelines on Shadow Reporting of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, 23 October, 2:30pm – 3:30pm (GMT)
- Panel Launch of the General Comments on Regulating Private Actors in the Provision of Social Services, 23 October, 4:30pm – 5:30pm (GMT)
- Panel for the 10 Anniversary of the Kampala Convention, 24 October, 2:30pm – 3:30pm (GMT)
- Launch of the Guidelines on the Protection of all persons against enforced disappearances, 25 October, 2:30pm – 3:30pm (GMT)
- Panel on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information, 25 October, 4:30pm – 5:30pm (GMT)
- Panel on Stakeholders’ consultation in relation to the draft Guidelines on Adhering to Human and Peoples’ Rights Standards under the African Charter when declaring States of Emergency and Disaster (ACHPR Resolution 447), 26 October, 3:30pm – 4:30pm (GMT)
- Launch of the Study on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in Exile, 27 October, 10:00am – 11:00am (GMT)
- Panel on the Inaugural Regional Forum on the State of Extractive Industries, Human Rights and the Environment in Africa, 27 October, 2:30pm – 3:30pm (GMT)
- Launch of the Abidjan SOPs on Torture and CPTA Newsletter, 27 October, 4:30pm – 5:30pm (GMT)
- Panel on Women Prison Conditions, 28 October, 09:00am – 10:00am (GMT)
- Panel Discussion on Human Rights and Excessive Use of Force, 28 October, 12:00pm – 1:00pm (GMT)
- Sensitisation Panel on the Ratification of the Protocols on the Rights of Older Persons and Persons with Disabilities in Africa, 29 October, 10:00am – 11:00am (GMT)
- Panel on Migration, 29 October, 2:30pm – 3:30pm (GMT)
State periodic Reports (Item 7)
During this session, pursuant to Article 62 of the African Charter and State Parties obligation to report every two years on the legislative or other measures taken with a view to giving effect to the rights and freedoms recognized and guaranteed by the Charter, two countries will be reviewed:
- The Republic of Cote d’Ivoire review will be based in its report covering the period 2016-2019 (24 October, 9:30am to 1:00pm)
- The Islamic Republic of Mauritania review will be based on its combined 15th to 17th reports, covering the period 2018-2021 and submitted to the ACHPR in June 2022 (26 October, 9:00am to 1:00pm)
Activity reports (Item 10)
During every session, special mechanisms from the African Commission present their activity report. These reports catalogue the activities and initiatives undertaken by each mechanism inter-sessionally:
- Chairperson & Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa and Focal Point On Reprisals In Africa;
- Vice- Chairperson & Special Rapporteur on Refugees, Asylum Seekers, Internally Displaced Persons and Migrants in Africa;
- Chairperson of the Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights Violations in Africa;
- Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa;
- Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa;
- Special Rapporteur on Prisons, Conditions of Detention and Policing in Africa;
- Chairperson of the Working Group on the Rights of Older Persons and People with Disabilities in Africa;
- Chairperson of the Working Group on Death Penalty and Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Killings in Africa;
- Chairperson of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture in Africa;
- Chairperson of the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of People Living with HIV and those at Risk, Vulnerable to and Affected by HIV;
- Chairperson of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities and Minorities in Africa;
- Chairperson of the Working Group on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Africa;
- Chairperson of the Working Group on Communications.
For the full programme, click here.
What will ISHR do during this session?
During this session, ISHR will make several statements under Items 4 and 10:
- The situation of human rights in Africa (item 4)
- Activity reports (item 10)
- Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders and Focal Point on Reprisals in Africa
- Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa
- Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights Violations
What advocacy opportunities does the Commission offers?
The situation of human rights in Africa
Under Item 4, civil society organisations with observer status have the possibility to make a statement highlighting specific issues relating to the human rights enshrined in the African Charter. It can be used to call the attention of the Commission on a specific issue or even update the Commission on an issue previously brought to its attention.
Under article 62 of the African Charter, States are obliged to submit a report every two years on the legislative or other measures taken with a view to giving effect to the rights and freedoms recognised and guaranteed by the present Charter. During this process, civil society organisations also have the possibility to submit shadow reports ahead of the session during which countries will be reviewed in order to inform the Commission’s recommendations and provides share advices to a specific State.
Country and Special Rapporteurs mandates
- Every Commissioner has under its mandate 5 countries in Africa. During the session, civil society organisations have the opportunity to meet with the Commissioner which has their country under its mandate. It is important to seize this moment to update the mandate on the issues specific to your country and more specifically call his attention to an issue you want him to raise with the State directly or during the session.
- All year long it is recommended to civil society to share information with Special Rapporteurs. During sessions, civil society organisations can make statements during the presentation of each Commissioner, including Special Rapporteurs, activity reports highlighting important issues of interest.
How can you follow the session?
21 – 30 October 2022: Public Session in Banjul, The Gambia
9 November 2022 – Closing Ceremony (Public Session)
9 November 2022 – Media Conference (Following Closing Ceremony – Public Session)
ISHR will monitor and report on key developments at the 73rd ordinary session of the African Commission. Follow us on Twitter at @ISHRglobal, @ISHR_fr and at #ACHPR73. Our staff can also be followed @Adelaide_ISHR, @Pooja_ISHR, @Madeleine_ISHR and @StephanieWamba.