Of 55 member states of the African Union, only six have the Portuguese language as an official language. This presents challenges and opportunities for the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in its mandate to promote the respect for and monitor the implementation of human rights on the continent. The Centre for Human Rights (the Centre) in collaboration with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission) are hosting a hybrid workshop with five PALOPs on using the state reporting process to monitor the implementation of the rights contained in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter) and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol).
The meeting is taking place from 14 to 16 June 2022 with five Portuguese-speaking countries namely Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Sao Tome and Principe. The main aim of the workshop is to strengthen the capacity of state parties to the African Charter and the Maputo Protocol to fulfil their reporting obligations to the African Commission.
The workshop is taking place in a hybrid format with proceedings being in person in Maputo, Mozambique, where participants from Angola and Mozambique are gathered, and virtually for the other countries. Participants in the other countries are congregated in a central place for the duration of the workshop and connect virtually with participants in Mozambique. Facilitators for the workshop include Commissioner Janet Ramatoulie Sallah-Njie, the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa, African Commission, Commissioner Maria Teresa Manuela, Commissioner of the African Commission, Dr Aquinaldo Celio, Mr Emerson Lopes and Ms Matilda Lasseko-Phooko. The workshop participants include a variety of stakeholders in the respective countries which consist of government ministries, national human rights institutions and civil society representatives.
Commissioner Janet Ramatoulie Sallah-Njie, Commissioner Maria Teresa Manuela, Dr Nkatha Murungi, Claudio Mathe of the Ministry of Justice in Mozambique and a representative of Cape Verde gave opening remarks highlighting the role of state reporting in realising the rights contained in the treaties. State reporting serves a number of functions which includes stock-taking of the concrete steps undertaken by ratifying states towards compliance with treaty obligations, identifying problems and challenges to full implementation of treaty obligations as well as providing an opportunity for state parties to engage in constructive engagement with the African Commission and to benefit from their recommendations. Article 62 of the African Charter and Article 26(1) of the Maputo Protocol outline the obligations that ratifying states hold with respect to state reporting. State parties commit to submit a report every two years detailing the legislative or other steps they have taken to ensure the realisation of the rights of women.
While the meeting has several objectives, a key outcome is the stimulation of state parties to prepare their state reports to the African Commission. With the increased capacity and knowledge on the use of the state reporting process before the African Commission, the participating countries are likely to initiate their state report drafting process.
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