Kumulika: The African Commission Monitor                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 View online

The African Commission Monitor
14 April 2016

About Kumulika

Kumulika is a newsletter produced by ISHR with the aim of monitoring and informing readers of developments and opportunities around the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR).
The african commission in pictures

The 58th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (the African Commission) is currently being held in Banjul, The Gambia. It was was preceded by the NGO Forum and the 32nd African Human Rights Book Fair. 

Click here to view ISHR's photos from this African Commission session


58th session celebrates and reflects on human rights

‘We are marking a significant milestone in 2016, as we celebrate the African Union’s Year of Human Rights with Particular Focus on the Rights of Women,’ said Commissioner Pansy Faith Tlakula, the Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (the African Commission) in her opening statement at the 58th ordinary session yesterday.

The African Commission officially opened in Banjul on 6 April, with over 400 participants drawn from the African Union Member States, national human rights institutions (NHRIs) and civil society organisations. In February 2016 the African Union launched the 2016 theme ‘African Year of Human Rights with Particular Focus on the Rights of Women,’ in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

‘We all have a role to play, let us implant a truly human rights culture on our continent. Let us focus on making concrete solutions on how to promote and protect human rights during this session,’ said the African Commission Chairperson... more


ISHR co-hosted a side event on Côte d’Ivoire’s law on human rights defenders. The objective of the panel was to share and discuss she law as a measure to protect human rights defenders. The Ivorian case was to be acknowledged as a start on which others can build on with the purpose of sharing strategies, learnings and opportunities so that other countries can follow... more


panel ON THE african commission REPORT ON Women human rights defenders in Africa

ISHR hosted an interactive dialogue with the African Commission's Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders  on the implementation of the Commission’s first report on the situation of women human rights defenders (WHRDs) in Africa. The panelists expressed the challenges faced by WHRDs, framing their discussion on the relevance of the Special Rapporteur’s report on the situation of WHRDs in Africa, its recommendations and the need for their implementation by civil society and Member States... more 


ISHR moderated a panel organised on the right to freedom of association and assembly organised by the NGO Forum preceding the African Commission's session. The event focused on the recent report published by the African Commission on freedom of association and assembly in Africa and the recently adopted resolution tasking the study group on freedom of association to draft guidelines on the same issue... more


Throughout the NGO Forum civil society organisations expressed concern at the increasing number of violations of the rights of human rights defenders in several parts of Africa. They put a special emphasis on the use of regressive legislation to restrict civil society space; and threats, reprisals and and even brutal murders of HRDs... more


fRANCESS PIAGIE ALGHALI, woman human rights defender from sierra leone

Ms Francess Piagie Alghali is the former Executive Secretary of the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone and has now joined a network of human rights defenders in the country. On the margins of the NGO Forum, she spoke to ISHR about her work in favour of women’s rights and the difficulties she faces as a woman human rights defender herself... more


The 32nd NGO Forum was organised and facilitated by the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies in collaboration with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission) and the NGO Forum Steering Committee. This year the Forum drew over 160 participants and facilitators from civil society organisations (CSOs), national human rights institutions, African Member States, with some Commissioners of the African Commission also taking part.
Human Rights Defenders
The NGO Forum deplored the situation of defenders on the continent, with participants stating that they were deeply concerned with the continued persecution and prosecution of defenders in Angola. This includes the recent conviction of 17 human rights activists who met to discuss the political situation in the country and the continued detention of José Marcos Mavungo despite a decision by the UN Working Group on arbitrary detentions that his detention was arbitrary.

CSOs were concerned about the enforced disappearance of defender Itai Dzamara in Zimbabwe and the continued lack of information and investigation on his whereabouts by the government of the country.

Extractive Industries and human rights

It was highlighted that there is a growing trend regarding the arrests and attacks against defenders addressing human rights in the context of land and environmental issues. The recent killing of Mr Sikhosiphi Bazooka Rhadebe working on protection of community land in South Africa was an example.

Panel discussions held during the Ngo forum

Various panels were organised during the NGO Forum  including: Strategies for promoting educational achievement for girls with disability in Africa; Implementation of the adopted recommendations of the report on the situation of women human rights defenders in Africa; Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the African Youth Charter; Follow up to the African Commission's resolution 391 on freedom of association and assembly; Mediation and the space for citizens in the restoration and maintenance of peace and democracy; Counter terrorism guidelines; Introduction of the Draft General Comment on the rights to redress for victims of torture or ill-Treatment under Article 5 of the African Charter; Leveraging Advocacy impact with Information Technology; Follow up on the recommendations of the African Commission's report on statelessness and the right to a nationality in Africa; Fragility of the African human rights protection system; and  the Way Forward on 2016, African Year of Human Rights, with a focus on the Rights of Women.

Resolutions adopted by  the NGO Forum 

Thematic resolutions
  • TRES/001/4/16: Human rights defenders of customary land rights in South Africa
  • TRES/002/4/16: Human rights defenders in Africa

Thematic recommendation
  • TREC/001/4/16: Fight against impunity in Africa
Country resolutions
  • CRES/001/4/16: Situation of human rights in Angola
  • CRES/002/4/16: Situation of human rights in Burundi
  • CRES/003/4/16: Situation of human rights in Central Africa Republic
  • CRES/004/4/16: Situation of human rights in Lesotho
  • CRES/005/4/16: Situation of human rights in South Sudan
Country recommendation
  • CREC/001/4/16: Recommendation on the situation of human rights in Mali

Petition to the African Union Commission on the need to respect the independence of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights


ISHR was honoured to meet with the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders of  the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (the African Commission) at the NGO Forum, which recently preceded the African Commission’s 58th session. With this year being declared by the African Union as the ‘African Year for Human Rights’, Ms Alapini-Gansou reviewed the progress achieved, challenges faced and important role intended for her mandate in the protection of human rights defenders in Africa... more
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