Friday, May 14, 2010

Human Rights On The Agenda

News Banjul The Gambia (MB)- In keeping with tradition, the NGO Forum was held for three days prior
to the commencement of the 47th Ordinary session of the Africa
Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Banjul The Gambia.
As usual the turn out was remarkable, the debate objective and
professional leading to commendable outcomes. The Gambia's Attorney
General and Minister of Justice, Edward Gomez, has declared that the
Gambia government recognises the efforts of the African Centre for
Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS), in facilitating the Non
Governmental Organisations forum popularly called NGOs forum, which
enables NGOs to fully participate in the work of the Africa Commission
on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR).
Mr. Gomez was speaking on Saturday 8th May 2010, at the Kairaba Beach
Hotel, where he officially declared the forum open.
The NGOs Forum is being held alongside the 21 African Human Rights
Book Fair, both organised by the ACDHRS, and precedes the 47 ordinary
session of the ACHPR. The forum gathered over 164 representatives from
30 African countries participated including 21 participants from
Europe, the United States of America and the Latin America.
The aim of the forum is to foster collaboration among NGOs and with
the African Commission, for the purpose of promoting and protecting
human rights in Africa.
Recent years have witnessed a multiplicity in the number of NGOs in
the African continent, which according to the Justice Minister, shows
the increase in pluralism and democracy.
It is through concerted efforts that they can overcome the challenges
facing their countries, region and their continent at large, he told
the participants.
There has been marked progress in terms of improving democracy and the
human rights situation in some areas in the continent.
However, a lot more remains to be done in other parts of Africa, with
human rights violation increasing daily, according to Mr. Gomez.
He added that Africa has a long way to go in relation to its
development and human rights record.
“I am optimistic that we shall overcome the hurdles if we inject more
spirit and commitment, as well as belief in our dreams,” he said. Mr.
Gomez described the forum and book fair as important advocacy tools
adopted by the African Centre to promote networking among human rights
NGOs in Africa.
He concluded his remarks by commending the Africa Centre “for
conscientiously organising such a forum since its inception”.
Speaking earlier, the Executive Director of the ACDHRS, Hannah
Forster, said as part of the African Centre’s networking for human
rights programme, the NGOs forum offers a platform where the African
human rights community can meet to prepare for substantial and
constructive participation in the session of African Commission.
The importance of their collaboration with the African Commission
cannot be over emphasised, as it continues to advance its work, she
Among other things, Ms Forster said the NGOs forum, unlike the other
forums, will try to strengthen the lobby groups for the harmonisation
and implementation of regional instruments.
These include the African Charter on Democracy, Election and
Governance, which endorses the implementation of fundamental
democratic principles, including the organisation of free and fair
“The African Centre urges you all to continue your collaboration
with the Centre and the Commission in our resolve to promote and
protect human rights in Africa”, she declared.

No comments: