Journalists charged to prioritise human rights issues

By Francis Ameyibor, GNA Correspondent, Arusha

Arusha, Sept. 11,
GNA – Justice Sylvain Oré, the President of the African Court of Human and
Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) has tasked journalists and media houses to work in
earnest towards the protection of human rights.

“The people of
Africa need to be informed about their human rights as enshrined in their
constitutions and how to achieve these rights,” he said.

“This should never
be misconceived as rebellious or counter-productive. In fact, we are ensuring a
better future for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren.”

Justice Oré, stated
at this at the opening of a media training for Senior Editors and Journalists
from Western, Southern, Central and Northern Africa, in Arusha, Tanzania.

“I have no doubts
in my mind of journalists’ commitment to promote human rights in Africa, and
especially the work of the African Court, which to a large extent, is very much
unknown on the continent and thus to our people,” he said.

In his major maiden
speech, after being elected as AfCHPR’s President, Justice Oré reminded
Journalists of the tenets of Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and
Peoples’ Rights, which clearly states that every individual shall have the
right to receive information.

AfCHPR is a continental
court, established by African countries to ensure the protection of human and
peoples’ rights. It complements and reinforces the functions of the African
Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

It was established
by virtue of Article 1 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and
Peoples’ Rights on the Establishment of an AfCHPR (the Protocol), which was
adopted by the Member States of the then Organization of African Unity (OAU),
in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in June 1998.

Thirty States have
ratified the protocol but only eight countries – Ghana, Benin, Burkina Faso,
Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Malawi, Tanzania and Rwanda – have signed the declaration
recognising the competence of the Court to receive cases from Non-Governmental
Organisations and individuals.

The African Court
has jurisdiction over all cases and disputes submitted to it concerning the
interpretation and application of the Charter, the Protocol and any other
relevant human rights instrument ratified by the States concerned.

Specifically, the
Court has two types of jurisdiction: contentious and advisory.

The African Court
is composed of 11 Judges – nationals of Member States of the African Union.

They become members
after nomination by their respective States in their individual capacities from
among African jurists of proven integrity and of recognised practical, judicial
or academic competence and experience in the field of human rights.

The President of
the African Court resides and works on a full time basis at the seat of the
Court, at Arusha, Tanzania, while the other 10 judges work on a part-time

In the
accomplishment of his duties, the President is assisted by a Registrar, who
performs registry, managerial and administrative functions of the Court.


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