Final Communiqué of the 31st
Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, 2 – 16 May 2002: Pretoria, South Africa
1. The African Commission on Human
and Peoples’ Rights held its 31st Ordinary Session in Pretoria, South Africa
from May 2nd to 16th, under the chairmanship of Mr. Kamel
The following members attended this Session:
Commissioner Kamel Rezag Bara – Chairperson
Commissioner Jainaba Johm – vice Chairperson
Commissioner Ibrahim Ali Badawi El Sheikh
Commissioner Hatem Ben-Salem
Commissioner Andrew Ranganayi Chigovera
Commissioner Vera Mlangazuwa Chirwa
Commissioner Emmanuel V. O. Dankwa
Commissioner Yaser Sid Ahmed
Commissioner Angela Melo
Commissioner Nyameko Barney Pityana
Commissioner Salamata Sawadogo
3. Before the opening ceremony of
the 31st Ordinary Session, the chairman of the African Commission, Mr Kamel
Rezag Bara, called for a minute’s silence in memory of His Excellency Mr Ide
Oumarou, ex-Secretary General of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), who
had recently died. He recalled that the first very first session of the African
Commission was convened by Mr Ide Oumarou on November 2nd 1987 and
that he also inaugurated the African Commission’s headquarters in June 1989
The session was officially opened by His Excellency Mr Jacob Zuma,
Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa.
H.E. Jacob Zuma expressed the pleasure and pride of his country in hosting
this 31st Ordinary Session of the African Commission. He recalled
that South Africa had experienced a painful past and that this made human rights
so much more precious.
For almost a decade, the principle of democracy has gained momentum in Africa.
NEPAD and the African Union, which will shortly come into being, represent credible
initiatives to bring Africa out of its present situation. Mr Jacob Zuma urged
those States who had not yet done so, to ratify the Protocol creating an African
Court of Human and Peoples Rights.
The Deputy President closed by pledging support for the activities of the African
Commission and urged all civil society organizations to strengthen their relations
with the Commission, and its missions to promote and protect human rights in
the opening ceremony, addresses were given by H.E. Sgaїr Ould M’BARECK, Minister of Justice of the
Islamic Republic of Mauritania in his capacity as representative of delegates
of States Parties to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights attending
the Session, and by Mr Mohamed Genedy on behalf of the Non-governmental Organisations
that have observer status
with the Commission.
- The Commission heard statements
from several representatives of States Parties, National Human Rights Institutions,
Inter-governmental organizations, non-governmental organizations and other
- The representatives of the National
Human Rights Institutions and the non-governmental organizations expressed
their deep concern about the human rights situation prevailing in numerous
African States despite the efforts made by the Commission through its protection
and promotional mandates. The said member States exercised their right of
members of the Commission presented their inter-sessional activity reports.
The Special Rapporteur on Prisons and Detention Conditions in Africa, Dr Vera
Mlangazuwa Chirwa also presented her report, as did the Special Rapporteur
on the Rights of Women in Africa, Dr Angela Melo.
- The African Commission granted
affiliate status to the following National Human Rights Institutions:
- The National Committee
for Human Rights of Cameroon
- The National
Commission for Human Rights of Togo
- The National Human Rights Initiative
- The Commission also granted observer status to
the following non-governmental organizations:
The Human Rights Law Service (Nigeria)
in Law in Southern Africa (Zimbabwe)
- Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (Ghana)
African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies in collaboration with
Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA) and the African Commission
on Human and Peoples’ Rights, held an NGO Forum from the 29th April
to 1st May 2002 in Pretoria, South Africa. The valuable contributions
which emanated from the Forum were included in the deliberations of the 31st
- In accordance with Article 62 of the African Charter,
Cameroon, Lesotho and Mauritania presented their Initial Reports, whilst Togo
presented its first Periodic Report.
the context of its promotional activities, the Commission confirmed its decision
to organise seminars on the following topics:
Economic, social and cultural
Refugees and displaced persons;
Rights of the people with disability;
q The right to education.
Reports were presented on the Workshop on the Prevention of Torture and
Ill-Treatment in Africa and the meeting of the Working Group on the Freedom
African Commission considered altogether twenty-four (24) communications.
Of those 24 Communications, the Commission was seized of eight (8) new Communications
and delivered decisions on inadmissibility on two (2). One Communication was
withdrawn by the Complainant. Thirteen (13) Communications were deliberated
upon and deferred to the 32nd Ordinary Session for further consideration.
African Commission expressed satisfaction with the number of participants
who attended its 31st Ordinary Session; there were one hundred
and forty-eight (148) delegates from thirty-six (36) States Parties; twenty-one
(21) participants from eight (8) National Human Rights Institutions, two hundred
and eight (208) participants from fifty-one (51) African and International
Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and eighty (80) other invitees.
There were a total of four hundred and sixty-one (461)participants.
Commission has decided to hold its 32nd Ordinary Session in Banjul The Gambia
from 17th to 31st October 2002; its 33rd Ordinary
Session in Côte d’Ivoire; its 34th Ordinary Session in Banjul,
The Gambia and the 35th Ordinary Session in Cameroon.
Commission adopted the following resolutions:
- Resolution on the ratification
of the Protocol on the Establishment of the African Court on Human and Peoples’
- Resolution on the ratification
of the Statute on the International Criminal Court by OAU/ AU Member States.
Commission adopted its 15th Annual Activity Report.
African Commission expressed its sincere thanks and deep appreciation to the
government of South Africa for the facilities put at their disposal and for
the generous welcome and hospitality they had received, which all contributed
to the successful outcome of this 31st Ordinary Session.
- The 31st Ordinary
Session was closed on May 16th 2002 by Honourable Dr Penuell Maduna,
Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development of the Republic of South
- The Chairperson of the Commission
held a press conference immediately after the closing ceremony.
in Pretoria, South Africa, May 16th 2002.