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Published On: Mon, May 1st, 2023

NGOs Forum Strives To Provides A Unique Platform For Civil Society Members Says Dr. Litha Ogana

Dr. LithaMusyimi-Ogana, the Commissioner, African Commission on Human and People’s Rights and Country Rapporteur for the Gambia has saidthe None Governmental Organizations (NGOs) forum on the participation of its 75th ordinary session of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights has provided participants with a unique platform where Civil Society members engaged in substantive debate and conversation on the state of human and peoples’ rights on the continent.

She  made this statement on Monday at the end of a three-day session held from 29th April to 1st May at the Kairaba Beach Hotel. This year’s theme was “The year of Africa: acceleration of the African continental free trade area implementation.”

She mentioned that the forum was one of the unique platforms where concerns and experiences of diverse groups of people on the ground were expressed, and has updated them on the progress made in Human Rights advancement and emerging challenges in the field of human and peoples’ rights on the continent.

“During three days, you have interrogated the human rights and democracy situation in Africa from several angles, which undoubtedly allowed you to gather information on emerging trends and the human rights situation in the continent, as well as the governance challenges facing our continent,” Dr. Ogana noted.

“This Forum was also rich in panels and group discussions on specific themes, including new trends on human rights, democracy and the rule of law, unconstitutional changes of government in some African countries, gender-based violence, challenges of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement and AU institutional reforms, the issue of digital rights and security, freedom of expression and access to information, the challenges of environment and climate change, food security in Africa, reflection on the life of ThulaniMaseko as well as the 20 years commemoration of the Maputo Protocol,” she continued.

She said the Forum has achieved one of its main objectives, which was to strengthen collaboration and cooperation between NGOs and the Commission to promote and protect human rights in Africa.

She notes with hopes that the exchanges and intense reflections undertaken during the forum have generated important and innovative solutions to effectively remedy various human rights violations and enable their communities to effectively enjoy the rights guaranteed by the African Charter and other regional and international instruments dealing with human rights issues.

She concludes that the Commission awaits the resolutions, recommendations, concrete and relevant proposals, and the possible solutions that it could implement at its level.

Whilst she urged participants to actively participate in the 75th Ordinary Session of the African Commission, which commences on 3rd May, 2023, hence the Commission relies on the active participation of civil society in the public session’s proceedings to contribute to its successful outcome.

For his part, Dr. SaikouKawsuGassama, Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission-the Gambia noted that the attack on human rights defenders continues to escalate in Swaziland following the brutal murder of their comrade ThulaniMaseko for merely championing human rights, respect for rule of law, and good governance.He said these attacks pose serious challenges to human rights defenders in the execution of their mandate.

Mr. Gassama encouraged participants to continue to advocate for the promotion and protection of rights on the continent and that the Network of African National Human Rights Institution (NANHRI) urges the NGO forum to continue the pressure on Swaziland and the African Union or the United Nations for the shift, independent, and impartial investigation into the unlawful and extrajudicial killings of human rights defenders and to end impunity for gross human rights violations.

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