Vital human rights partnership forged

THE African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR), the European Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to operationalize the International Human Rights Forum.

A communiqué released by the three courts noted that after a meeting held in Kampala, Uganda, they decided that they will be organizing the International Human Rights Forum biennially in private and public sessions on a rotational basis and involving other regional and global human rights stakeholders where necessary.

The courts will ensure that the decisions and resolutions reached at the Forum are adhered to and implemented by allocating the necessary resources and appointing focal points for the required follow-up and will be conducting staff exchanges.

The document was signed by AfCHPR’s President, Justice Sylvain Ore, Vice President of the European Court of Human Rights, Judge Angelika Nussberger and Judge Eduardo Ferrer Mac-Gregor Poisot, who is the President of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

It noted that the courts will undertake knowledge-sharing through digital platforms, on topical human rights issues, including on migration, violence against women, environmental hazards, climate change, bioethics, terrorism, mass data surveillance and on the working methods of the three courts.

The trio will develop online learning courses on various aspects aimed at protecting human rights in their respective jurisdictions in particular, as well as globally; publish annually an electronic/digital report on the leading judgments of the three courts with commentaries where necessary, and taking into consideration the working languages of the respective courts.

They will enhance dialogue and sharing jurisprudence with national courts, as one of the mechanisms for ensuring reference by national courts to the regional courts’ judgments and contributing to the enforcement of these judgments in the long run.

They decided that the next meeting of the Forum will be hosted by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France in 2021 and commended the African Court for the successful organization of the maiden edition of the Forum.

The courts reaffirmed their commitment to the principles and objectives contained in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the American Convention on Human Rights and the European Convention on Fundamental Rights and Freedoms; and other relevant international human rights instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the two United Nations international covenants.

They Also considered the Declaration of San Jose of 18 July 2018 where the three courts affirmed that the respect for, and protection of human and peoples’ rights and access to justice of the people under their jurisdictions is a prerequisite for the enhancement of the rule of law and democracy and contributes to the attainment of national goals and objectives.

Also they noted the existing cordial relationship that allows for institutional and jurisprudential dialogue, the sharing of information and best practices for their common benefit; the desire to strengthen that relationship through continued shared work and efforts between the three courts.

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