The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights opened on 22 August 2012 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, a Regional Sensitization Seminar on the Promotion of the Court for the Eastern and Northern Region of the African Continent. Apart from the promotion of the Court, the Seminar aims at enhancing the protection of human rights in Africa raising public awareness about the role of the Court in settling human rights disputes in Africa.
Speaking at the opening ceremony which took place at the New African Union Conference Centre, the President of the Court, Justice Gerard Niyungeko, welcomed all participants to the seminar. He said that the main objective of the Seminar is to get the Court to be better known in all its dimensions to a wide spectrum of partners of human rights system from East and North African States. Thus, those partners will, in turn, sensitize their respective audiences about the Court.
Recalling the theme of the Seminar: “The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights: Your New Partner in Strengthening the Protection of Human Rights in Africa”, Justrice Niyungeko wished that the Seminar would help the Court to effectively achieve its mandate.
Mr Alimany Sissé, the Senior Legal Officer from the AU Office of the Legal Counsel, representing the Chairperson of the AU Commission, said that the Court needs the full support of African Governments to be able to fulfill its mandate and objectives. He recalled that all Member States should be fully involved in supporting the Court. He indicated that the African Union Commission will work closely with the Court to ensure that more States ratify the Court’s Protocol.
The Chairperson of the Permanent Representatives’ Committee (PRC), the Ambassador of the Republic of Benin to Ethiopia, H.E. Ferdinand Pentecôte Montcho, assured the Court of the continued support of the PRC to enhance its visibility and effectiveness. He called on the States that that have not yet ratified the Court’s Protocol to take steps to do it and make the declaration allowing individuals and NGOs to directly bring their cases to the Court, after exhaustion of national remedies.
The Conference brought together a wide range of key stakeholders involved in the protection of human rights, including African Union organs dealing with human rights and related issues, experts and practitioners in litigation before international tribunals, Bar Associations, national human rights institutions, academic institutions, the media and Non-governmental organizations from East and North Africa.
The seminar is expected to close on Friday, 24 August 2012 with the adoption of conclusions that will express the commitment of all the stakeholders in the promotion of the Court.
Click here to see Photos of the Opening Ceremony