THE African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) will tomorrow start a sensitisation mission with officials and stakeholders in Djibouti with a view of promoting the court’s activities in the country located on the horn of Africa.
During the four-day mission in Djibouti, the Arusha-based court’s mission will pay courtesy calls on the country’s Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Justice and the Speaker of Parliament.
“The sensitisation visit will help to raise awareness of the Court’s existence and encourage more AU Member States to ratify the Protocol and also make the Declaration to allow individuals and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to have direct access to the Court,’’ said the AfCHPR President, Justice Sylvain Oré, in a statement availed to this paper yesterday.
The AfCHPR President further observed that for the court to discharge its mandate and further strengthen the African human rights system, a greater number of countries must ratify the Protocol and make the declaration under Article 34(6).
Djibouti signed the Protocol establishing the Court on 15 November 2005, but is yet to ratify it and make a declaration.
According to the statement, specific objectives of the sensitisation visit include raising public awareness about the Court; encouraging the ratification of the Protocol and deposit of the Declaration that allows individuals and NGOs direct access to the Court.
It will also involve sensitising the would-be applicants on how to access the Court and the procedures before the Court; encouraging the public to utilise the Court in settling human rights disputes and encouraging the utilisation of the Court for advisory opinions.
The AfCHPR was established by virtue of Article 1 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, to complement the protective mandate of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, with a view to enhancing the protection of human rights in the continent.
Since the adoption of the Protocol in June 1998, 30 of 55 AU Member States have ratified it, and only nine State Parties to the Protocol have made the declaration under Article 34(6).
These are Burkina Faso, Benin, Ghana, Gambia, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Malawi, Tanzania and Tunisia. As of March this year, the Arusha-based court had received 202 applications of which 52 have been finalised.
It is composed of 11 Judges, nationals of Member States of the African Union elected in their individual capacity.