Amnesty documents continued undermining of regional human rights mechanisms in Africa

October 21, 2020

For a second consecutive year, Amnesty International has documented how African governments are grossly undermining regional human rights bodies by failing to comply with their decisions, ignoring their urgent appeals, neglecting to report to them on national human rights situations and starving them of resources they desperately need for operations. Governments also neglected the rights of people with disabilities and older persons by failing to ratify treaties relating to their protection.

In the second edition of The State of African Regional Human Rights Bodies and Mechanisms 2019-2020released on the African Human Rights Day, Amnesty International said the mechanisms established to safeguard human rights across the continent are facing enormous challenges, and at least one is facing an existential threat. [for last year’s see:]

Given the magnitude of gross human rights violations across the continent, regional human rights bodies play a critical role in providing justice and accountability,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Director for Research and Advocacy.

“These mechanisms must be protected and fully supported. They serve as vital alternative channels for people to seek justice and effective remedies when national systems are compromised or inadequate.” 

Amnesty International’s report reviews and analyses the performance of Africa’s human rights treaty bodies:  the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission); the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (African Children’s Committee); and the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Court).

Existential crisis for African human rights court 

The report raises alarm that future of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights is in jeopardy following decisions by three governments – Benin, Côte d’Ivoire and Tanzania – to withdraw the right of individuals and NGOs to directly file cases before the court. Rwanda withdrew this right in 2016 bringing to four the number of countries that are now restricting access to this vital pathway to justice.

Amnesty International found that Benin, Côte d’Ivoire and Tanzania withdrew this right in response to decisions they perceived as unfavorable, and amid rising intolerance towards human rights defenders and a general deterioration of human rights conditions nationally…..


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