During the Missions, the Court delegation composed of three Judges and Registry Staff, will pay courtesy calls on the Presidents, Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Ministers of Justice and the Speakers of Parliament, among others.
The President of the AfCHPR, Hon Justice Sylvain Oré, said that the sensitization visits would help to raise awareness of the Court’s existence and also encourage more AU Member States to ratify the Protocol and also make the Declaration to allow individuals and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) direct access to the Court.
‘’For the Court to achieve its objectives and further strengthen African human rights systems, a greater number of countries must ratify the Protocol and make the declaration under Article 34(6),’’ he said.
Since December 2010, the Court has carried out continent-wide promotion programmes which have so far seen it undertake 25 sensitization visits and hold12 regional and continental seminars and conferences.
The main objective of the sensitization visits is to enhance the protection of human rights in Africa.
Specific objectives include raising public 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; sensitizing would-be applicants on how to access the Court and the procedures before the Court; encouraging the public to utilize the Court in settling human rights disputes and encouraging the utilization of the Court for advisory opinions.
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
1. The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Court) was established by virtue of Article 1 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights, to complement the protective mandate of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission), with a view to enhancing the protection of human rights on the continent.
2. Since the adoption of the Protocol in June 1998, 30 of 55 AU Member States have ratified it and only seven State Parties to the Protocol have made the Declaration under Article 34(6).
3. The success of the Court as a human rights protection mechanism requires much wider ratification of the Protocol by Member States, as well as their acceptance of the competence of the Court by making the Declaration under Article 34(6). This “universal” ratification will give the Court the legitimacy it needs to effectively discharge its mandate.
4. Egypt signed the Protocol establishing the Court in February 1999 but is yet to ratify it and make a Declaration. Tunisia ratified it in August 2007 but is yet to make a Declaration under Article 34(6).
Further information on the Court can be obtained from the Court’s website at www.african-court.org.