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The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) will undertake sensitisation missions to the Republic of Sierra Leone from 2 to 3 August 2018 and to the Republic of Liberia from 6 to 7 August 2018.
The sensitisation missions are part of the on-going efforts of the Court to interact with different stakeholders in order to deepen their understanding of the Court’s mission and to encourage States to ratify the Protocol establishing the AfCHPR and to deposit the declaration under Article 34(6), which allows direct access to the Court by NGOs and individuals.
So far, 30 out of 55 African Union (AU) Member States have ratified the Protocol and only 8 of them have deposited the declaration. These 8 States are: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Malawi, Mali, Tanzania and Tunisia.
Both Sierra Leone and Liberia are yet to ratify the Protocol establishing the Court.
‘’Sierra Leone and Liberia have made tremendous democratic gains in recent years and I encourage them to ratify the Protocol and to deposit the declarations,’’ underscored the President of the AfCHPR, Hon Justice Sylvain Oré.
The Court delegation, composed of two Judges and Registry Staff, will hold seminars for human rights stakeholders in the two west African countries and also pay courtesy calls on the respective Presidents, Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Ministers of Justice, Speakers, Heads of Constitutional Courts ,Human Rights Commissions and Bar Associations, among others.
The main objective of the sensitisation visits is to enhance the protection of human rights in Africa. Specific objectives include raising awareness about the Court; encouraging the ratification of the Protocol and deposit of the Declaration that allows individuals and NGOs direct access to the Court; sensitising would-be applicants on how to access the Court and the procedures before the Court; encouraging the public to utilise the Court in settling human rights disputes and encouraging the utilisation of the Court for advisory opinions.
Interestingly, Nigeria, the self-acclaimed giant of Africa is yet to deposit the crucial declaration that will allow its individual citizens and Non Governmental Organisations direct access to the court.