Belhassen laments ‘pitiable’ ratification of African Charter on democracy…

Wednesday, April 18, 2012
The President of the International Federation of Human Rights, FIDH, Ms. Souhayr Belhassen on Saturday lament the pitiable pace at which governments are ratifying the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.
Only 15 countries ratified the Charter which was adopted by the 8th Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in January 2007.
Ms. Belhassen was presenting a paper on the  overview of the situation of human rights and democracy in Africa at the opening of the NGOs Forum (April 14-16, 2012), preceding the 51st Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, ACHPR in Banjul.
Of recent, elections in Africa become a breeding ground for conflicts and wide spread violations of human rights, as have been witnessed in Guinea, Ivory Coast, and Nigeria.
Per country violations
 “The Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, missed the opportunity to embrace democracy when it denied local citizens from exercising their rights to elect a leader,” Ms. Belhassen said, citing political repressions during the last presidential election in that country.
Highlighting human rights violations in African Arab countries, she said Tunisians, Egyptians and Libyans still have a long way to reaping the benefits of deposing the dictatorial regimes of Ben Ali, Hosni Mubarak and Mummar Gaddafi. This is because repressions of civil protests are still extant in these countries, she said.
In Sudan, she said the African Union, AU, should urge the Sudanese army and the forces of the Sudan Liberation Movement to immediately stop the violence and the human rights violations in that part of Africa.
“It’s business and has been like business as usual in Darfur,” she said of a region beleaguered by renewed fighting, displacements and unacceptable human rights violations.
She laments that all the disregard for peoples’ rights are happening when Sudan president, Omar Al Bashir and others indicted by the international criminal court (ICC) continue to walk freely on the streets.
The AU general assembly, who believes the ICC, is out to “witch-hunt” African leaders decided to defy the court’s international arrest warrant against Al Bashir. That was the status quo for Gaddafi prior to his killing.  
Angolans, inspired by the Arab spring, as the demonstrations are fondly called, also protested against poverty and a dictatorial regime that has been there for 30 years, explains Ms. Belhassen. She added. “What they get is harassments, arrests, detention, torture and killings which are unacceptable.”
Commenting on the recent rebellion by the military in Mali which resulted in the ousting of President Amadu Toumani Tore, she commend the sub-regional bloc, ECOWAS, for efforts it has taken to restore constitutional democracy in that country.
She said of recent, Mali turned into a country where killings, arrests, and rape have forced an estimated 90, 000 people to be displaced.
In Nigeria, where bombings by the Boko Haram sect claims many lives, Ms. Belhassen notes that the conflict is now taking a religious dimension.
While calling for justice for the victims of Chad, she stressed that former president Hissene Habre should be held responsible for the crimes he allegedly committed. The FIDH president exhort the newly elected President of Senegal, Makey Sall to ensure Habre is tried.
Habre has been living in exile in Senegal since 1992, the year a truth commission report in Chad said he presided over up to 40,000 political and ethnic-related murders.
In her long presentation, she also rubbishes legislations by African governments who criminalize homosexuality. “These legislations are baseless,” she said, while urging those countries to adopt social reforms.
Her tell off came in time with the arrest, charge and detention of 17 Gambians on Tuesday alleged to have been involved in acts of homosexuality.
Honoured Floribert
Ms. Souhayr Belhassen concluded by honoring Floribert Chebeya, a DRC human rights defender murdered in that country in 2010. On whose murder a film entitled “The Chebeya Affair: A State Crime?” was screened at the Forum.
The Film by the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a formation of FIDH and the International Organisation Against Torture, OICT, retraces the steps of Chebeya, an internationally renowned human rights activist.
“Over a period of 8 months, Thierry Michel filmed the extraordinary trial where military officers judged chiefs of police,” the Observatory explains of the political-tragicomedy as the “chronicle of an exceptional trial and fascinating political thriller.”
GYIN-Gambia’s SG, Meita Touray Off To Ethiopia
By Binta A Bah

Daily Obersver’s Ms Meita Touray on Monday left for Ethiopia to attend the fourth Africa Carbon Forum (ACF) which is schedule to take place in the Ethiopian Capital Addis Ababa today 18, and end on 20 April 2012
Ms Touray who also doubles as the Secretary General of the Global Youth Innovation Network-Gambia better known as GYIN-Gambia is only Gambian who will attend the High-Level Panel with other Media Representatives from other African countries.
The Panel according to Ms. Touray will consists of distinguished policy makers and representatives of civil society and business who will engage a wide range of stakeholders through meetings and studies to gain a full and unbiased picture of the operations, benefits and shortcomings of the CDM.
Organized by the African Development Bank (ADB), International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), UNEP Risø Centre, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), World Bank and its World Bank Institute, and the Ethiopian Environmental Protection Agency, the participants are expected to hold plenary sessions which will allow high level experts from Africa and outside the continent to deliver their views on recent developments in the international carbon market and new challenges associated with global climate change.
 This year’s event will take place at the United Nations conference center in Addis Ababa Ethiopia with focus on promoting green and low carbon development in Africa, with much emphasis placed on the decisions taken in Durban during COP-17, which renewed the international commitment to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, as well as the impact and deliverables Africa can expect to see from the adoption of the “Durban Platform”.
“The training will pave my way to learn, network and share my experience on climate change issues as a global treat.” She told the Daily News Shortly before her departure.
Touray expresses her delight to be selected and listed with other participant from divers countries.

ACF according to her is a networking and a knowledge sharing platform for carbon investors in Africa. It is a platform to discuss the latest development in the carbon market and how the Clean Development Mechanisms-CDM can be successful in Africa.
“Topics for these plenary sessions, will range from discussions on the future for Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) in Africa, to the challenges for Low Carbon Energy Access; from opportunities in Forestry and Agriculture to a global perspective on the future demands for offsets.” She added.
She continued: ‘‘The plenary sessions will be supported by workshop and training sessions which will give participants the opportunity to improve their know-how and learn from relevant experts on a more informal basis’’.
According to her, the African Carbon Forum (ACF) will also provide extensive networking opportunities to enable potential project developers to showcase their ideas to interested parties, including potential investors and carbon credit buyers.
The Africa Carbon Forum is also an exhibition providing international organizations, governments and private companies with the perfect setting to present and showcase their activities and technologies. The High-Level Panel, Touray said will also be attending the African Carbon Forum adding that the aim is to meet with various stakeholders and take stock of the lessons learned in implementing the CDM and recommend how to position the mechanism going forward.

Author: Modou S. Joof

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