On 4 and 5 June 2014, the Centre for Human Rights, in collaboration with the Department of Political Affairs of the African Union Commission, held an experts meeting on the draft state reporting guidelines for the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (Democracy Charter) in Pretoria, South Africa.
The meeting brought together a broad range of stakeholders with considerable expertise on human rights, democracy and election issues, to review the current draft State Reporting Guidelines, with a view to facilitating the domestication and implementation of the Democracy Charter by Member States. Participants included government officials, National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs), Regional Economic Communities, (RECs), academics and civil society organisations focusing on issues of democracy, human rights and governance from across the continent.
The first day of the meeting focused on broader issues of the processes for the preparation, submission and review of State Reports, as well as mechanisms for the implementation of the concluding observations made by the African Governance Platform (comprising organs of the African Union responsible for democracy, human rights and governance issues as well as Regional Economic Communities, charged with the consideration of State Reports under the Democracy Charter) to States Parties following the consideration of State Reports.
On the second day, participants broke-up into working groups and discussed extensively, the structure and content of the draft guidelines. At the end of the day, proposed amendments to the draft guidelines were discussed and agreed to in plenary.
The amended draft guidelines are now expected to be widely disseminated by the Department of Political Affairs for further feedback, with a view to ensuring broad participation by stakeholders in the finalisation of the draft guidelines. Once finalised, the reporting guidelines will be circulated to State Parties, in readiness for the commencement of reporting obligations under the Democracy Charter.
The financial supportof the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) for this meeting is gratefully acknowledged.