African Court takes sensitisation campaign to Guinea Bissau

By Catherine Ageno

The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) is looking to deepen public awareness about its operations and activities through a sensitization visit to The Republic of Guinea Bisau.

According to a statement from the Arusha-based Court, the two-day program opens today August 14-15.

The President of the Court, Hon.Justice Sylvain Oré says during the visit, the mission led by three Judges and Registry Staff will hold discussions with various stakeholders with a view to promoting the Court.

“It is within this framework that since 2010, the Court has embarked on a sensitization programme, which has enabled it to carry out outreach visits, seminars and conferences at national, regional and continental levels”, Justice Oré said.

“These activities are aimed at enabling the Court to interact with different actors in order to afford them the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the Court’s mission and possibilities that it offers in terms of human rights protection”, he adds.

Justice Oré adds that in order for the Court to achieve its objectives, there is a need for more countries to ratify the Protocol and deposit the Declaration that allows access to the Court by Non-Governmental Organizations and individuals.

So far, 30 out of 55 AU Member States have ratified the Protocol, and only 8 countries have made a declaration under Article 34(6) that allows access to the Court by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)and individuals.

The African Court undertook similar sensitizations to the Arab Republic of Egypt and Republic of Tunisia in April this year which resulted in Tunisia depositing a declaration allowing NGOs and individuals to access the Court, whereas Egypt expressed its willingness to work towards the ratification of the Protocol establishing the Court.

Guinea Bissau signed the Protocol establishing the Court in June 1998 but is yet to ratify it and make a Declaration.