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2016 African Human Rights Year

The African Union Summit asked to declare 2016 African Human Rights Year - Africa’s premier human rights bodies have asked the African Union (AU) to declare 2016 the continent's human rights year marking a veritable watershed in its human rights trajectory.

The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights have asked the AU Assembly, currently holding its 22nd ordinary session here, to declare the African Human Rights Year in order to commemorate significant milestones in the continent’s human rights progression, PANA reported Wednesday, quoting sources close to the organisations.

These milestones include the 35th anniversary of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women, the 30th anniversary of the entry into force of the African Charter in 1986, and the 10th anniversary of the operationalisation of the Court.

Both the Commission and the Court have proposed a series of activities for the celebration of Africa’s achievements in the field of human rights, to review the human rights situation and to identify ways of dealing with the remaining challenges.

According to the proposal made by the two institutions, the objective is to initiate an advocacy and coordinating campaign that would effectively reach out to stakeholders at all levels in line with the AU’s Agenda 2063.

It is hoped that, if the AU Summit approves this proposal, activities to be held throughout the year will generate a groundswell of support culminating in the African Human Rights Day on 21 Oct. 2016.

The Banjul, Gambia-based Commission and the Court that has its permanent seat at Arusha, Tanzania, have said that AU member states have taken initiatives and measures to give expression to human and peoples’ rights enshrined in the African Charter, particularly through the creation of national human rights institutions for promoting and protecting human rights.

“While there are continuing human rights challenges on the continent, very significant strides and many achievements have been made, which deserve noting and celebrating,” the two bodies said in their joint proposal.

Pana 29/01/2014