Written By Kavutha Mutua
The 68th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on People and Human Rights under the theme The Africa we want: The role of arts, culture and heritage in the realisation of Human Rights and Democracy” was held from 14th April 2021.
Kevin Mwangi, Kavutha Mutua and Nyakio Sarah represented IMLU at the sessions.
The Ordinary Session was held virtually because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The African Charter establishes the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR). The commission was inaugurated on 2nd November 1987 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The commission secretariat is currently located in Banjul, Gambia.
In addition to performing any other tasks which may be entrusted to it by the Assembly of Head of state and government, the Commission is officially charged with three primary functions; -
- The promotion of human and peoples’ rights;
- The protection of human and peoples’ rights;
- Interpretation of the provisions of the Charter; and
In exercise of its protective mandate, the commission holds typically two biannual ordinary sessions during which State reports, shadow reports and any other reports which touch on the aspect of human rights in Africa are considered. Subsequently, concluding observations and resolutions are given to individual member states, and sometimes some of the resolutions may be directed to several states. The resolutions and the concluding observations play a significant role in advocacy for human rights promotion and protection by civil society organisations like IMLU.
This year, the Commission focused on the following Session activities:
(i) Human Rights Situation in Africa;
(ii) Consideration of State Party Reports;
(iii) Consideration of Applications for Affiliate Status from NHRIs and Observer Status from NGOs;
(iv) Activity Reports of Commissioners;
(v) Panel Discussions;
(vi) Consideration of Communications;
(vii) Consideration of Concluding Observations;
(viii) Consideration of Promotion Mission Reports.
The Unit presented the Human rights situation in Africa. On 14th April 2021, Sarah Mwangi and Kavutha Mutua read IMLU’s statement to the commission. The statement focused on various key areas, including;
- Human rights abuse by police officers during enforcement of the Covid 19 curfew rules.
- The death penalty.
- National Police Service budgetary allocations
- Closure plan of the Daadab and Kakuma camps.
Commissioner Solomon Dersso thanked the unit for the continued support and participation in the sessions in response to the issues. He reiterated the units concerns about the increased abuse of human rights by police officers in enforcing the Covid 19 curfew rules and the need to have speedy investigations by IPOA and prosecution of the culpable persons.
The full statement can be accessed here https://www.imlu.org/index.php/shortcode/reports/send/3-reports/107-68th-ordinary-session-of-the-african-commission-on-human-and-peoples-rights-in-banjul-the-gambia-statement-by-the-independent-medico-legal-unit-imlu