As African countries push for improved human rights across the continent, the contribution of media and civil society advocates has been adjudged critical to the attainment of the all-important goal.
At a conference held between May 10-11 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, experts and policymakers put together an extensive consultation to facilitate a continental platform to engage the representatives of African civil society organisations (CSOs).
The CSOs have been working on human and peoples’ rights to review the draft 10-Year Action Plan of the Human and Peoples’ Rights Decade, according to a statement from the AU public affairs unit.
The summit was also aimed at ensuring that the draft action plan covers all the necessary issues for effective promotion and protection of Human and Peoples’ Rights as captured in the Agenda 2063 of the African Union.
Nwanne Vwede-Obahor, Regional Reprsentaive of the United Nations Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Eastern Africa Regional Office, said at the opening event that civil society and the media should ensure a process that would protect human and peoples’ rights across Africa.
Mbari Calixte Aristide, Head of Democracy, Governance, Human Rights and Elections (DGHRE) Division at AU, represented Commissioner for Political Affairs, Minata Samate Cessouma, at the event and spoke extensively about how the action plan would be the guiding framework for collective action by all the departments and organisations concerned.
“An Africa in which there is entrenched understanding and informed practice of the culture of human and peoples’ rights, in particular the rights of women, and their promotion, protection and popularisation’,” he said.
Mr Mbari said that the Department of Political Affairs recognises the need to consult with media experts and CSOs that are skilled and equipped in media management, civic engagement pertaining to promoting the rule of law, human rights, democracy and good governance at national level.
He further stated that the 10-Year Action Plan is expected to further enhance the implementation of the African Human Rights Instruments and strengthen the function of the its Mechanisms, while inculcating a culture of human rights on the continent.
Ganou Oumarou, Director-General of Regional Integration, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Burkina Faso, said at the event that the consultation was timely as it was in compliance with decision of the Assembly of the African Union taken during the Kigali Summit held in 2016.
Mr Oumarou expressed the commitment of the Government of Burkina Faso regarding its relevant national institutions to accompany and fulfil its duties in promoting human rights, especially the women rights.
He commended the participants for their commitment and urged them a fruitful deliberation that would culminate in the issuance of Ouagadougou declaration after the two-day meeting.