On 23 June 2022, the Centre for Human Rights held a high-level meeting to encourage African Union (AU) member states to ratify three instruments. First, is the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Older Persons in Africa (Older Persons Protocol), which was adopted by the AU in 2016. Second, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa (African Disability Protocol), adopted in 2018. Third, the Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (Kampala Convention) was adopted by the AU in 2009. The Older Persons Protocol and the African Disability Protocol are both not yet in force as they are yet to receive the 15 ratifications necessary for them to come into effect.
The Older Persons Protocol has been ratified by six states, Benin, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, and Rwanda. Eight more states must ratify the Older Persons Protocol in order for it to come into force. Three states have so far ratified the African Disability Protocol, namely, Mali, Kenya and Rwanda. Twelve more ratifications are required for the African Disability Protocol to come into effect. In contrast, the Kampala Convention came into force in 2012, having received the requisite number of ratifications. However, 22 African states have yet to ratify the Kampala Convention, leaving many internally displaced people without international legal protection. Together, these three instruments provide an enabling legal framework for protecting the rights of older persons, persons with disabilities and internally displaced persons in Africa. However, all African states need to ratify these instruments in order to enable their citizens to access the legal protection offered in these instruments.
The high-level meeting convened heads of missions based in Pretoria from various African states to encourage them to ratify these three instruments. Ambassadors and other high-ranking diplomats from ten embassies including Congo, Malawi, Togo, Angola, Mali, Cameroon Libya, Gabon, Zambia and the Central African Republic were in attendance. Representatives from the UNHCR Southern African Bureau, the African Union as well as the African Union of the Blind also attended the meeting.
This meeting was part of a Ratification Campaign that the Centre is running to encourage African states to ratify the three instruments. As part of this campaign, the Centre has developed three roadmaps to ratification highlighting the reasons why AU member states should ratify each of the three instruments and the process for ratification. The Centre will also conduct country visits for purposes of encouraging member states to ratify the three instruments.
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