Final Communiqué of the Thirty-Third Ordinary Session of the African
Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, 15 - 29 May 2003, Niamey, Republic
- The 33rd Ordinary Session of the African
Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) was held in Niamey, Republic
of Niger, from 15th to 29th May 2003 under the Chairmanship
of Ambassador Kamel Rezag Bara.
- The following Members attended the session :
Commissioner Mrs Jainaba
Johm (Vice-Chairperson) ;
Commissioner Ibrahim Ali
Badawi El Sheikh;
Commissioner Andrew R.
Commissioner Vera Mlangazuwa
Commissioner EVO Dankwa
Commissioner Yassir Sid
Commissioner Angela Melo;
Commissioner Barney Pityana
Commissioner Hatem Ben
- The Prime Minister of Niger, H.E. Mr Hama Amadou,
after welcoming the participants to Niamey for the 33rd Ordinary
Session, pointed out that justice, peace, security and democracy should
prevail in Africa. Concerning Niger, he said that great efforts had been
made in accordance with its Constitution to guarantee the respect and protection
of human rights. The State Institutions which had been put in place were
a testimony of the attachment of the Government of Niger to democratic principles,
particularly the separation of powers and the respect of human rights in Niger.
declaring the 33rd Ordinary Session open, the Prime Minister called
for deeper reflection on the creation of a mechanism for the prevention and
settlement of conflicts which undermine peace and development in Africa.
- In his statement, the Chairman of the African Commission
thanked the Government and the people of Niger for the facilities put at
the disposal of the participants at the session. He was pleased with the
progress made in quite a number of African countries and regretted
the worrying situation of human rights prevailing in some parts of the continent. He also expressed his appreciation for the constantly
increasing number of participants at the sessions of the African Commission.
- After thanking the Authorities of the host country
for the warm welcome extended to the participants to the 33rd
session, the representative of National Institutions on Human Rights outlined
the mandate assigned to these Institutions and urged those States Parties
that had not yet done it to put in place this mechanism. He reiterated
the determination of the National Institutions on Human Rights to strengthen
cooperation with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
- The representative of NGOs present expressed their
heartfelt gratitude for the attention they had received since their arrival
in Niamey. Expressing his regrets on the violation of human rights
here and there, he called for stronger cooperation among
the defenders of human rights for better promotion and protection of human
rights in Africa and in the world. He reiterated the determination of NGOs
to do their utmost in supporting the work of the African Commission.
- The Commission heard statements from several States
Parties delegates and from the representatives of National Institutions
on Human Rights and Intergovernmental and Non Governmental Organisations,
as well as other guests.
- The representatives of National Institutions on
Human Rights and Non Governmental Organisations expressed their strong concern
on the situation of human and peoples’
rights prevailing in many African States despite the efforts of the African
Commission through the promotion and protection missions on human rights
on the continent. Moreover, the States Parties exercised their right of
- Mrs Angela Melo and Mrs Vera Mlangazuma Chirwa,
Special Rapporteurs on the Rights of Women in Africa and on Prisons and
Conditions of Detention in Africa respectively, as well as the Chairman
and the Members of the Commission, presented their activity reports covering
the intersession period.
- The African Commission appointed Commissioner Vera
Chirwa Special Rapporteur on Prisons and Conditions of Detention in Africa
for a period of two (2) years.
- The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
granted the status of affiliate to Conseil National Consultatif de Promotion
et de Protection des Droits de l’Homme en Algérie (CNCPPDH) which had replaced Observatoire National
des Droits de l’Homme de l’Algérie (ONDH).
- The African Commission granted also the status of
observer to the following NGOs:
Media Institute of Southern Africa (Namibia) ;
Integrated Development Organisation (Kenya);
Centre for Minority Rights Development (Kenya);
National Association of Democratic Lawyers (Ghana)
Media Foundation for West Africa (Ghana);
Centre Africain des Femmes dans les Media
Démocratie Vivante (Niger) ;
Mahatma Ghandi Human Rights Organisation (Hungary);
Organisation pour la Promotion et l’Epanouissement
de la Femme Nigérienne (Niger) ;
Réseau des Journalistes pour les Droits
de l’Homme (Niger) ;
Indigenous Peoples’ Association Coordinating Committee
Santé de la Reproduction pour une Maternité
sans Risques (Niger) ;
International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims
Shelter for Children (Gambia);
Centre on Housing and Eviction
- In accordance with Article 62 of the African Charter
on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Arab Democratic Sahrawi Republic presented
its initial report. The Commission adopted the final observations on this
- The Chairman of ACHPR took this opportunity to urge States Parties behind
schedule in submitting their reports to honour this obligation as soon as
possible. The submission of initial/periodic reports is one of the mechanisms
provided for by the African Charter to enable ACHPR to monitor the implementation
of this instruments by the States Parties.
- The African Commission considered forty six (46)
communications of which fourteen (14) on decision for seizure, twenty-one
(21) on admissibility and ten (10) on merits. Furthermore, the Commission
decided on the merits of five (5) communications, declared three (3) communications
inadmissible and deferred sine die consideration of one (1) communication.
- The African Commission paid tribute to the late
Professor Isaac Nguéma, former Member and Honorary Chairman of ACHPR, and
to the late Ousmane Ngum, staff member of the Secretariat of ACHPR, who
died during the intersession.
- Mrs Mame Bassine Niang, Minister for Human Rights
of Senegal, paid a warm tribute to the late Professor Isaac Nguéma on behalf
of the delegates of the States Parties. She recalled that Professor Nguéma
was a brilliant lawyer, a politician but, above all, a man of honour who
had the talent of teaching and a special approach to problem solving. And
Mr. Ibrahima Kane of INTERIGHTS made a statement on behalf of Non Governmental
Organisations and presented their sympathy
and most heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families and to all who had
known these two men. A minute of silence was observed in memory of the late
Professor Nguéma, Ousmane Ngum and Walter Sisulu, a distinguished South
- The African
Commission is pleased with the increased participation to the 33rd
Ordinary Session. In attendance were nineteen (19) States Parties represented
by sixty-two (62) delegates, seven (7) National Institutions on Human Rights
represented by thirty (30) participants, one hundred and thirty six (136)
Non Governmental Organisations with one hundred and ninety six (196) participants
and twenty four (24) other guests; a total attendance of three hundred twelve
- The African
Commission adopted and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United
Nations High Commission for Refugees.
- The African Commission adopted the Directives and
Principles on the Right to a Fair Trial and Legal Aid in Africa.
- The African Commission adopted the reports of the
missions undertaken to Burkina Faso,
Cote d’Ivoire, Namibia, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia,
and the reports of the 32nd and 33rd Ordinary Sessions
held in Banjul, The Gambia and Niamey, Niger respectively.
- The African Commission adopted its Work Programme
for the period 2003-2006, as well as the
Action Plan of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa which
should be incorporated in the above mentioned overall programme.
- The African Commission decided to hold its 34th
Ordinary Session in Banjul, The Gambia, from 7th to 21st
- The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
wishes to express its heartfelt gratitude to the Government of the Republic
of Niger and to the National Commission on Human Rights and Fundamental
Freedoms of Niger for all the facilities put at its disposal and the warm
welcome and hospitality extended to it, which contributed to the smooth
running and success of the session.
- The 33rd Ordinary Session will be officially
closed by Honourable Mr Matty Elhadj Moussa, Minister of Justice and Minister responsible for
Relations with Parliament of the Republic of Niger.
- Mrs Salama Sawadogo, Member of the African Commission
and responsible for promotion activities in Niger, will hold a Press Conference
after the closing ceremony.
Done at Niamey, on 29th May