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African NGO Forum Adopts RtoP Resolution in Advance of African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights

 

ICRtoP Voke Ighorodje participates in forum and gives statement on RtoP at ACHPR 46th session

ICRtoP

7-9- November 2009

 

On 7-9 November 2009, the African Center for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS), in collaboration with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), hosted an NGO forum in advance of the 46th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on the Human and Peoples’ Rights and the 20th African Human Rights Book Fair. Over one hundred people participated in the NGO forum, which was held in Banjul, Gambia, to discuss the challenges to the promotion of human rights in Africa and to take steps to combat human rights abuses and irresponsible governance. The NGO Forum adopted Resolutions including one entitled “Strengthening the Responsibility to Protect in Africa”, but it was not subsequently adopted by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights.

 

According to Mr. Voke Ighorodje, ICRtoP consultant in Nigeria who attended the forum, many NGO representatives expressed enthusiasm about integrating RtoP into their work to assist African nations in protecting their populations from genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and ethnic cleansing. Mr. Ighorodje was given the opportunity to deliver a statement to the Ordinary Session of the ACHPR in which he briefed governments about the July 2009 UN General Assembly debate on RtoP and the resulting resolution on RtoP.

 

NGO Forum adopts Resolution on “Strengthening RtoP in Africa”

RtoP was largely discussed at the NGO Forum, leading to the adoption of a Resolution entitled “Strengthening the Responsibility to Protect in Africa”. NGOs stated the following in the Resolution:

 

Recalling the adoption in 2005 of World Summit Outcome Document where UN Member States expressed in Paragraph 138 and 139, their commitment to protect civilians from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing; and the subsequent Security Council Resolution 1674 on the protection of civilians;

 

Re-affirming the African Commission on Human and People's Rights (ACHPR) 'Resolution on Strengthening the Responsibility to Protect in Africa (...) which was adopted at the 42nd Ordinary Session in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo in November 2007,

 

Welcome the report of the United Nations Secretary General on "Implementing the Responsibility to Protect' (A/63/677) especially the formulation of the 'three pillar approach'

 

Encouraged by the positive contributions of African governments during the July 2009 General Assembly debate on the Responsibility to Protect, in particular the reference by many ember states to Article 4(h) of the Constitutive Act of the African Union and its transition from the principle of non interference to the principle of non indifference;

 

Call on the African Commission on Human and People's Rights to:

 

Urge the member states of the African Union (AU) to make a priority in advancing efforts to prevent and halt genocide, war crimes, ethic cleansing, and crimes against humanity.

 

Urge the member states of the African Union (AU) to enhance early-warning mechanisms within the region, strengthen its collaboration with the UN and other regional bodies in the prevention of mass atrocity crimes, and provide assistance needed for states to fulfill their responsibility to protect their populations.

 

Urge the member states of the African Union (AU) to commit themselves to taking timely and appropriate action in specific situations where the crimes and violations threaten to occur.

 

See full text and 6 other Resolutions adopted at the Forum, including a Resolution on strengthening international justice in Africa.

 

Read the Final Communiqué from the 46th Ordinary Session of the ACHPR.

 

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